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The "Duty to Sit" v. the Duty to Recuse

Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth issued this statement following the release of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Williams v. Pennsylvania:

The Supreme Court’s decision in Williams demonstrates that the high court takes the issue of recusal seriously and has deep concerns over potential conflicts of interest within the judiciary.

What does not follow, though, is why the justices refuse to do as much as possible to minimize their own potential conflicts – by selling stocks in individual companies, by reining in their comments on pending cases and by curtailing the time they spend out of court with those who have business before them.

The justices often say they have a ‘duty to sit’ since there’s no one to replace them should they recuse. But that duty becomes difficult to defend when their actions have, at times, made the public question their impartiality.

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