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Ed Shaw Law No Nonsense Legal Advice

Local Solutions For Local Problems


by | Apr 24, 2023 | General Law |

It is the standard in this state, and I would expect many other states as well, when a judge should remove themselves from a case. Years ago, when I worked for a judge, he had a small claims court case where there was not much money involved. The case involved a dispute over a vehicle purchase from a large dealer. The judge sometimes had his car serviced at that dealer. The mechanic who worked on his car had nothing to do with the case, but to be on the safe side, the judge removed himself from the case, meaning it was re-assigned to a different judge. He did not want either side to think that his having his car serviced there would influence his decision in any way.

That is how the system should work. People involved in any court case should be assured that their judge does not have any connection, no matter how small to anyone involved in the case. Recent news about United States Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas receiving large gifts from people who were involved in supreme court cases that he was involved in deciding, is genuinely concerning. Regardless of how one feels about Justice Thomas, and whether they agree with his decisions or not, his actions undermine public respect for the supreme court as it is the highest court in the country, for all other courts as well.

Polls show that respect for the Supreme Court has been on the decline for the last few years. It is past time that Supreme Court justices follow the same rules that my old boss did, if there is a possible connection with someone who has an interest in a case, they need to take themselves off. People do not always agree with Supreme Court decisions, but they need to know that the justices are not making decisions based on personal connections, or the court will lose even more respect.



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