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Judge Gorsuch grilled on possible conflicts of interest

Washington Times
Alex Swoyer
Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Judge Neil Gorsuch is facing questions about conflict of interest from senators on both sides of the aisle about nearly 1,000 cases the Supreme Court nominee recused himself from hearing during his time on the circuit court.


Lumen Mulligan, an associate dean at the University of Kansas School of Law, told The Washington Times that nearly 1,000 recusals is 'definitely more than average' in the 10th Circuit.

But Mr. Mulligan, who clerked on the circuit before Judge Gorsuch’s time and later argued cases before him, said that high number of recusals indicates a judge who’s being very careful not to cross ethical lines.

He also said Judge Gorsuch’s professional background was different than other judges on the circuit, who practiced more locally on regional matters, making the range of potential conflict of interests less of an issue for them.

Mr. Mulligan also said that since the clerk’s office screens out cases ahead of time, Judge Gorsuch may not even know he had been recused from a particular case.

Federal judges are required to recuse themselves if there is an actual conflict of interest or even an appearance of a conflict. But at the Supreme Court, it is a little different, with justices erring on the side of hearing cases.

'There’s an actual obligation to hear cases at the Supreme Court level because they have the nine justices. They have an obligation unless they really can’t,' said Mr. Mulligan.

He doesn’t believe Judge Gorsuch would have issues regarding recusals if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court.

'He’s been out of private practice and government service for a decade much removed from those matters,' said Mr. Mulligan."

Faculty name: 
Lumen Mulligan

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