Document Type


Publication Title

Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics

Publication Date

Spring 2003


This article cannot accurately be cited for the proposition that any particular justice did or did not violate conflict-of-interest law by voting in Bush v. Gore. A well-equipped law library contains all of the resources needed to determine how the law treats certain facts. But determining what the facts actually are requires more. In the field of history, that "more" is the relentless digging of historians committed to resolving a mystery. In law, it is a forum where witnesses can be heard and cross-examined and evidence can be subpoenaed. Ultimately, the question addressed by this article is not whether any of the justices violated conflict-of-interest law by deciding Bush v. Gore. Instead, the ultimate question is whether it is worth investigating to find out whether the press reports are true. If the law does not treat these situations as conflicts requiring recusal, there is no point in trying to find out whether they actually existed or happened. But if the opposite is true if the law does treat them as conflicts requiring recusal neither history nor law will be satisfied until we do know the factual truth.