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Fair Courts: Setting Recusal Standards

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Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher(s): Brennan Center for Justice

Author(s): James Sample; David Pozen; Michael Young

Topic: Justice (Courts and judicial power)

Keywords: Fair Courts; Independence & Accountability; State Judicial Elections

Type: Report


The paper describes the increasing threats to the impartiality of America's state courts and argues that they have been spurred by two trends: the growing influence of money in judicial elections and the dismantling of codes of judicial ethics that once helped to preserve the distinctive character of the judiciary, even during the course of campaigns for the bench. The Brennan Center’s recusal report provides ten proposals to achieving meaningful reform of state recusal systems.