Friday, April 07, 2006


Hypothetical Supreme Court Recusals?

So I watched the Pelican Brief recently. If you don't recall the movie, it begins with the assassinations of two Supreme Court justices. Let's step aside from the movie at this point.

What if a Supreme Court justice was murdered in real life? The murderer is caught and goes on trial. Now imagine that after a series of appeals through lower courts, an appeal is made to the Supreme court. Granted, this would take years, but the Supreme Court is not known for rapid turnover. So what happens if all eight justices who served with the victim were still on the court when the appeal finally arrives? If someone in your family is the victim of a murder, isn't the conventional wisdom that you'll be excused from serving on a jury in a murder case? What about justices who worked side by side with the victim, perhaps for years? Do the justices recuse themselves? Then who hears the appeal? Does the process stop at the top of the Circuit Court food chain (and please correct me if I'm off base on the particular court, I mean the highest court you can go to before the Supreme Court)?
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