Should Supreme Court Justices Tell Us Why They Do and Do Not Recuse?

When a Supreme Court justice decides not to participate in a case, he or she is not required by law to say why (and rarely does). Similarly, when a party asks a Supreme Court justice to recuse and the justice doesn't, typically neither the justice nor the Court says why. In this extensive analysis, the New York City Bar has concluded that Supreme Court justices generally should publicly disclose the basis for their decisions to recuse and for denying a motion to disqualify them from participating in a case. This position is consistent with the position taken in The Supreme Court Transparency and Disclosure Act of 2011, which is pending before the Congress.

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