Daily Caller: Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan recused herself Friday from a divisive immigration case that was argued in October, after her chambers identified a conflict of interest they inadvertently missed during the pre-argument conflicts audit.
The case, Jennings v. Rodriguez, asks whether illegal aliens have the right to a bond hearing when held by federal authorities for longer than six months. It was originally argued Nov. 30, 2016, when the Court had just eight justices. The case appears to have resulted in an even split, as it was scheduled for reargument after Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation returned the court to its full complement of nine.
Now it appears the case may again result in a four-four split. Clerk of the Court Scott Harris released a letter Friday informing the parties that Kagan discovered she had authorized a filing at an earlier stage of the case while serving as solicitor general in the Obama administration. As a general rule, the justices recuse themselves from cases they were involved with at an earlier stage of their career. Harris explained that the filing eluded notice during the conflicts check conducted by her chambers.
The development is rather embarrassing for the Court, as the justices have reached an advanced stage of adjudication. Jennings was reargued Oct. 3, and the justices discussed the case and assigned opinions Oct. 6.
Jennings is the third time in as many terms that a justice participated in a case despite a clear conflict of interest. Chief Justice John Roberts recused himself from a patent case during the 2016 term nearly a month after the argument, once he discovered he owned stock in the parent company of one of the parties, Life Technologies.
One year before that… MORE