The latest high court mystery: Why has Alito recused in recent cases?

, The National Law Journal


Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. has recused in several important cases recently, leaving some lawyers involved scratching their heads – or wondering if he has recently expanded his investment portfolio.

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What's being said

  • lross

    Recusing oneself from reviewing petitions for cert and recusing oneself from hearing a case are two very different concepts. A justice who recuses himself from hearing a case due to a conflict is choosing to have no influence over how the case is decided, which is the proper course of action. Because a grant of cert requires four votes no matter how many justices are reviewing the petition, a justice who recuses himself from reviewing cert petitions is, in effect, voting against granting cert. So if Alito has a conflict that might cause him to favor the appellee, the logical way to offset that bias would be to vote in favor of granting cert and then recuse himself from the rest of the process.

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