Can we expect an Amy Coney Barrett recusal if the election results go to the U.S. Supreme Court for a decision, as did the 2000 election?

amy coney barrett recusal

In a word, no.

Under questioning by Senator Leahy during her confirmation hearing, Justice Barrett said this:

“I commit to you to fully and faithfully applying the law of recusal. And part of the law is to consider any appearance questions. And I will apply the factors that other justices have before me in determining whether the circumstances require my recusal or not. But I can’t offer a legal conclusion right now about the outcome of the decision I would reach.”


As an appointee of President Trump, she is criticized as biased going into any such deliberation, as other appointees would be as well. To be sure, her rapid hearing and confirmation appears by most accounts to be a strategy Trump can deploy to contest an outcome.

The rush to confirm her has been the most rushed since President Ford nominated John Paul Stevens in 1975. Then, Ford pointed to Stevens’s having the “finest legal mind I could find.”

Somewhat controversially, Roe v. Wade had been decided in 1973, and no senator asked nominee Stevens about that. Barrett, as other more recent nominees, are questioned on a complete gamut of issues. Barrett, too, has been picked for her legal mind, and both sides agree on this. The American Bar Association rates her “well-qualified,” its highest rating.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

On Wednesday, October 28, Justice Barrett declined to participate in ruling on election deadline changes in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. She didn’t participate, according to the Court’s public information office, “because of the need for a prompt resolution of it and because she has not had time to fully review the parties’ filings.” The court was deadlocked at 4-4, meaning Barrett could have been the deciding vote, which would help the president who appointed her. But she did not participate in a case that would clearly help the man who nominated her.

This should give us all hope, whether we’re voting for Biden or Trump.

This same legal mind and the same woman who wants all the facts and to not be rushed may, after November 3, be called on to deliberate on the election results.

She took a brave stance on Wednesday, no doubt spurning outside pressure to rule alongside her new colleagues in favor of the Republicans. She refused.

Will there be an Amy Coney Barrett recusal if the election is sent to the U.S. Supreme Court?

Almost certainly not.

And that should relieve all of us.

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