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Harrang Long Attorneys File Amicus Brief in the Supreme Court of the United States to Emphasize Importance of the federal Code of Judicial Conduct

Led by attorney Arden Olson and with contributions from attorneys Bill Gary, Aaron Landau, and Alyson Sneider, Harrang Long recently filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (“APRL”) to urge the Supreme Court to grant certiorari in the case of Ali Hamza al Bahlul v. United States, No. 23-1702.

The focus of the brief is to emphasize the critical importance of the federal Code of Judicial Conduct applicable to circuit judges, and to urge the Court to clarify that a federal judge applying the judicial disqualification statute, 28 U.S.C. § 455, must take account of the Code’s requirements when deciding whether the judge can participate in deciding a case. Specifically, it argues that a particular circuit judge who sat on a panel reviewing a life conviction at Guantanamo Bay, for a prisoner as to whom that judge had previously represented the government in a habeas corpus proceeding, should have recused himself.

Judicial ethics have recently become a matter of great import, as reflected by the Court’s formally applying a version of the Code to its own activities. Harrang Long’s amicus brief in this case urges the Court to require that the disqualification terms of the Code applicable to lower federal courts be used to interpret the federal statute on disqualification of federal judges in every case where the impartiality of the judge might reasonably be questioned.

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