A Recusal Circus

March 3, 2015 § 22 Comments

I posted here before about the confusion spawned in Boatwright v. Boatwright when the chancellor recused himself after entering a final judgment in 2009, but before ruling on the R59 motion.

The case landed in the lap of the other sitting chancellor in the district, who refused to rule on the R59 motion because he had no knowledge of the case. He opined that the better course of action would be for the lawyers to take an appeal. And that is what they did.

The COA ruled in 2011 that the second chancellor should have ordered a transcript and gained enough knowledge of the case to enable him to decide the R59 motion. The case was reversed and remanded with instructions.

Now, apparently, six years after the original judgment that birthed this controversy, the parties are back on appeal before the COA.

This time, though, five (5) of the COA judges have recused themselves. Since six are needed for a quorum, what exactly is to be done to allow the Boatwrights their (latest) day in court? Jane Tucker tells us on her blog.

I don’t recall a case in which six judges recused themselves. The order does not reveal reasons for the recusals.

It would definitely have entertainment value, however, if the remnant of the COA deciding the case were to remand the case again, only to have the chancellor recuse himself. There is a new chancellor now in that district, which opens the possibility that he could recuse himself, too. Or, he could hear the case, have it remanded yet again, and then recuse himself on remand. That’s probably too much to hope for. The law is seldom that entertaining.

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