Rotunda: High Court Recusals Create Uncertainty in the Law

Split decisions of 4-4 caused by the recusal of U.S. Supreme Court justices in cases before the court present a legal dilemma, says Professor Ronald Rotunda.

"When we have a 4-4 decision, it creates uncertainty in the law. We know it's important enough for the court to take, but we don't know the answer," Rotunda commented in an article appearing in

Four-to-four rulings resolve a case by upholding the lower court's decision without setting a nationwide precedent. Over the course of the 2007-08 term, six cases being considered by the court have the potential for 4-4 rulings due to recusals. In a large number of cases, the reason behind these recusals is the justices' stock ownership.

Pfizer, Exxon Find U.S Justices as Shareholders May Cost Them,, March 11, 2008. By Greg Stohr.

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