Carl Bernofsky 0

Amending the Recusal Law (28 U.S.C. Sec. 455)

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This petition adds specific language to the federal recusal statute that will compel judges to withdraw from lawsuits in which their university employers are a party. It supports the incorporation of Sec. 455(b)(5)(v) into the United States Code, Title 28, Section 455(b), which adds the following phrase to the existing recusal statute: "Serves as an instructor or on an advisory board of an educational institution that is a party to the proceeding."

The petition is a response to the conduct of a federal judge who taught at a university, was a board member of one of its research centers, received $5,500 to teach a summer course at a resort location in Greece, and who nevertheless presided over a series of lawsuits against that university during the same period while never disclosing her association with it. When confronted with this conflict of interest, this judge refused to withdraw despite the canons of judicial conduct that indicate disqualification, and in defiance of the federal recusal statute whose broad language was ignored. Throughout the country, judges associated with universities are called upon to adjudicate cases in which those universities are defendants in lawsuits.

As signer of this petition, you join with others who believe that amending the Recusal Law (28 USC Sec. 455) brings us one step closer to the goal of "Equal Justice Under Law," a right promised by our Constitution but imperiled through the abuse of judicial discretion and the lack of public vigilance.

For background to this petition, see this video.


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