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Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution and Judicial Recusal Reform
This paper examines the constitutional development and judicial reform of recusal in the United States. Part 1 focuses on judicial recusal cases of states judges from Tumey v. Ohio(1927) to Caperton v. AT Massey Coal Co.(2009), Williams v. Pennsylvania(2016) and Rippo v. Baker(2017). In these cases Supreme Court insisted that the basic requirement of due process is a fair trial before a fair court, and that Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution may demand judicial recusal where the probability of actual bias on the part of the judge is too high to be constitutionally tolerable. Part 2 makes the argument for reforming the federal law of judicial recusal. First, this article explains the federal recusal standard that was codified at 28 U.S.C.§455. This federal law requires disqualification in any proceeding in which judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questionable. Then it discusses the Congressional impeachment power as special and dramatic means at judicial recusal abuse cases. Really, Senate concluded that district judge Porteous’ recusal conduct constituted an abuse of his judicial office and removed him from office. Finally this paper studies debates at Judicial Transparency and Ethics hearing before the House Judiciary Committee and examines the necessity of federal recusal reform.