Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Conflicts -- What "Appearances" Are Enough to Warrant Disqualification?

Last week we pointed to an interesting story about a special master stepping down due to conflicts allegations before a motion to disqualify had been filed. The special master decided that the "lack of confidence" exhibited by the plaintiff was enough to impeded her ability to function effectively.
This week, a different story about arguing over appearances tied to the BP oil spill situation. It appears various groups are working to disqualify judged on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the body ruling on challenges to the government's moratorium on offshore oil drilling.

In this case, appearances are tied to allegations that "...at least two of the empanelled 5th Circuit judges should have been disqualified from the case for having represented oil and gas interests while in private practice." And one of the interest groups has produced extensive documentation arguing its case. But the authors in this essay argue that disqualification-worth appearances should be tied to more than client advocacy.

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