“Argument analysis: Seeking a recusal rule that the Justices can live with”

Yesterday, SCOTUSBlog ran my argument analysis for Williams v. PA. Here’s the first paragraph:

The oral argument in Williams v. Pennsylvania illustrated the difficulty of fashioning recusal rules that are both fair and administrable. Representing petitioner Terrance Williams, attorney Stuart Lev plausibly emphasized that “this is an extreme and rare case.” After all, Williams’s allegations of prosecutorial misconduct had been rejected by a panel that included the very prosecutor who’d approved the capital charge in Williams’s case. But as Justice Samuel Alito observed early and often during the argument, “The problem that is presented by this case is where this constitutional line is going to be drawn.” That problem is extra difficult for the Justices, because any rule they adopted would necessarily apply to themselves. Ironically, constitutional rules regarding judicial conflicts of interest must themselves be fashioned by somewhat conflicted jurists.


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