by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
That’s the title of a recent piece at the College Fix. The author, Christian Schneider, goes on to say:
A number of legal experts within academia have told The College Fix that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court should, if confirmed, recuse herself from a lawsuit challenging Harvard University’s controversial admissions policy.
Since 2016, Jackson has sat on the Harvard Board of Overseers, one of the school’s two governing boards. According to the Board of Overseers website, members provide “counsel to the University’s leadership on priorities, plans, and strategic initiatives.”
But some are concerned that if Jackson is confirmed, she would be eligible to rule on an upcoming case that charges Harvard with racial discrimination against Asians in its admissions process.
“Recusal in the case would seem obvious, even though justices treat judicial ethical rules as discretionary,” George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley told The College Fix in an email Monday. “Membership on the board would seem a direct and unavoidable conflict of interest.” …
Ed Whelan, a distinguished senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and former clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia, told The Fix that Jackson’s position at Harvard could cause problems for her.
“It seems to me that the case for her recusal is compelling,” Whelan said.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Political Science Professor Ryan Owens, who studies the U.S. court system, said he also believes recusal would be warranted.
“She likely ought to recuse herself from the case,” said Owens in a phone interview with The Fix.
Now that the court has Court has consolidated the Harvard and UNC affirmative action cases for briefing and oral argument, that probably means Jackson would have to recuse herself from it as well!