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Recent Times in Which a Justice Failed to Recuse Himself or Herself Despite a Conflict of Interest

OT17: Justice Kennedy failed to recuse in Washington v. U.S. despite his previous work on the case; missed recusal on 1/2/18 (cert. granted); reported and recused on 3/23/18

OT16 and OT17: Justice Kagan failed to recuse in Jennings v. Rodriguez due to her previous work on the case; missed recusal on 11/30/16 (argued) and 10/3/17 (reargued); reported and recused on 11/10/17

OT16: Chief Justice Roberts failed to recuse in Life Technologies Corp. v. Promega Corp. due to his ownership of stock in Thermo Fisher Scientific, which owns Life Technologies; missed recusal on 12/6/16 (argued); reported and recused on 1/4/17

OT15: Justice Breyer failed to recuse in FERC v. EPSA due to his stock in Johnson Controls, a party on the EPSA side; missed recusal on 10/14/15 (argued), reported and remained on case on 10/15/15. Breyer did not recuse at first, learned about the conflict the day after oral argument in FERC v. EPSA and then sold his stock – or his wife did – that very day

OT15: Chief Justice Roberts in ABB Inc., et al. v. Arizona Board of Regents, et al., due to his stock in Texas Instruments stock, a party on the ABB side; missed recusal on 10/5/15 (cert. denied), reported on 12/18/15. Fix the Court noticed this conflict two months after cert. was denied and brought it to the chief’s attention. No further action was taken

OT08: Justice Alito in FCC v. Fox Television Stations due to his son’s stock in Disney, which was a party on the Fox side; missed recusal on 11/4/08 (argued); reported on 5/31/11

Why Do the Justices Keep Forgetting Their Conflicts of Interest?

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