Should state Supreme Court Justices recuse themselves from cases concerning politically sensitive issues they may have been involved with before joining the Court?

That topic is under consideration in North Carolina, where the state Supreme Court will consider the legality of two Constitutional amendments that require voter ID and cap the state’s income tax. The plaintiffs are asking two Justices to recuse themselves—one is a former state senator who voted to put the amendments on the ballot and another is the son of the North Carolina President Pro Tem, a defendant in the case.

Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Press Millen is representing five retired N.C. Court of Appeals judges who also served as Chairs of the state’s Judicial Standards Commission. The panel of retired judges has filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to go “beyond an individual justice’s self-assessment” and employ an impartial standard when determining if a Justice should be eligible to hear a case.

Millen, who filed the brief on behalf of the retired Judges, said, “There needs to be some procedure. It has to be spelled out. It can’t just be subjective. If it is, then you become a court in which the public has no faith and you’re the laughing stock of the nation.”

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