Occasionally, callers inquire about the adequacy of grounds for recusing a judge who has ruled against them.
They imagine that the judge in their case must be biased against them – because they didn’t achieve a flat-out victory across the board – no matter the pertinent facts or the applicable law.
Unfortunately for the callers, that is not anywhere near enough to have a judge recused. What is?
In a divorce case heard in London, a Saudi sheik owned the divorcing couple’s marital home. Because of disputes over the home, the sheik appeared in court as a witness.
The presiding trial judge made several inappropriate remarks targeting the sheik’s ethnicity, such as references to his “flying carpet” and “fasts”.
On appeal, the trial judge was ordered to recuse himself from hearing the rest of the case. The appellate court held that the trial judge’s attempts at “humor” were actually “thoroughly bad jokes”.
And those so-called thoroughly bad ethnic jokes demonstrated sufficient bias to furnish adequate grounds for recusal.