Ethics and Accountability on the U.S. Supreme Court: An Analysis of Recusal Practices. Albany, NY: Suny Press (expected Fall 2017)
Ethics and Accountability on the U.S. Supreme Court is an original research monograph that provides a comprehensive examination of the causes and consequences of recusal behavior on the U.S. Supreme Court. I explore the conditions under which recusals occur, as well as the impact of recusals on case outcomes, the scope of majority opinions, the likelihood of certiorari grants, and public attitudes about the Court. I trace the evolution of media commentary about recusals, showing how popular discourse about recusals has become politicized and is inflaming demands for reform. I also provide readers with a rich historical overview of the Court’s recusal practices and describe and evaluate proposals for reforming the process. My key finding is that the justices do not strictly follow the recusal guidelines set by Congress, but neither do they ignore these guidelines. Instead, the justices are strategic in their compliance with ethical rules, balancing Congressional guidelines against other institutional and policy goals.