Justice Ginsburg made her name as a women’s rights advocate in the 1970s. So it was little surprise that she gave opening remarks at a National Organization for Women’s Legal Defense Fund lecture series in 2004 that was named after her.
But two weeks earlier, she had voted in a medical screening case, siding with the position that NOW backed in a friend-of-the-court brief.
And there’s more: Ginsburg participated in more than 20 cases in the 1990s involving companies in which her husband Martin owned stock.
The Supreme Court does not require justices to explain the reasons for their recusals, and it’s clear why this opaque practice must end. While we do not assume Justice Ginsburg and her colleagues to be acting improperly on a regular basis, there is no reason for them to hide behind this antiquated practice that leave the media and members of the public guessing if and when a justice has a potential conflict of interest.
Fix the Court is calling on Chief Justice Roberts to establish a formal recusal reporting procedure in which justices would submit the reason for their recusal to the court’s Public Information Office, which would then post the reason on the court’s website. And we’re calling on the court to make it easier for attorneys and members of the public to file a request for recusal in any case.