71 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2007
This article proposes that the fundamental goal of judicial ethics and practice is to achieve actual justice in judicial decisionmaking. To that end, it argues that current attempts to resolve concerns about impartial judicial decisionmaking through appearance-based recusal and disqualification standards are ill-conceived and ineffective. It proposes a substantial curtailment of recusals and a corresponding strengthening of the judicial duty to sit. It proposes to resolve fundamental concerns about actual justice, and at the same time to address concerns about public confidence in the judiciary, through a requirement that judges provide explanations of adequate internal legal reasons supporting their dispositive decisions and a focus on those reasoned elaborations in the assessment of the legitimacy of both the decisions and the performance of the judges who reached them, rather than a focus on mere guesswork about what might be influencing judges in their deliberations.
Keywords: judges, ethics, recusal, bias
JEL Classification: K1, K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Cravens, Sarah, In Pursuit of Actual Justice. Alabama Law Review, Vol. 59, 2007; U of Akron Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=976382