Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Amy M. McKay


Recusal, or judicial disqualification, occurs when a judge abstains from a particular legal proceeding because of a personal conflict of interest. All levels of the judicial system and some administrative agencies in the United States apply the concept of recusal, but this study focuses on the United States Supreme Court. Title 28 of the United States Code provides standards (not obligatory by legal means) on when Supreme Court Justices should recuse themselves. But Supreme Court Justices are themselves the arbiters of their own recusal and often these substantive standards are not met. The method of study applied is theoretical, using both quantitative and qualitative data from past Supreme Court cases.