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Why Did Justices Kennedy and Thomas Recuse?

CTAKJustices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas almost never have conflicts of interest that require them to step aside from considering whether a Supreme Court petition should be granted.

Neither justice invests in individual stocks, and though both have family members who work in finance (and, in the case of Thomas’ wife, politics), those jobs almost never cause direct conflicts that by law would require the justice to recuse from a case at the merits or cert. stage.

Yet earlier this term, Kennedy recused from cert. determination in Chance E. Gordon v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Thomas did the same in Soo Line Railroad Co. v. Werner Enterprises.

Do you know why? We can’t seem to figure it out.

If you have an idea, please let us know via

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