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 Bloomberg.com.
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, Bloomberg.com, March 11, 2008. By Greg Stohr.