A quick morning roundup:
1. Justice Roberts is defending Justices Thomas and Kagan on the recusal issue:
In his year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary, Roberts for the first time addressed a growing controversy about when justices should recuse themselves from cases and whether a code of conduct that covers lower-court judges should apply to the justices as well.
Roberts said the public should keep in mind a key difference between lower-court judges and Supreme Court justices: While lower-court judges can be replaced when they recuse themselves from cases, that is not the case at the “court of last resort.”
“A justice accordingly cannot withdraw from a case as a matter of convenience or simply to avoid controversy,” Roberts wrote. “Rather, each justice has an obligation to the court to be sure of the need to recuse before deciding to withdraw from a case.”
Allowing the court itself to decide whether justices should recuse, Roberts said, “would create an undesirable situation in which the court could affect the outcome of a case by selecting who among its members may participate.”
2. In the NY Times, Peter Henning discussed white-collar prosecutions in 2011 and what to expect in 2012, but no mention of Scott Rothstein. Blasphemy!
3. Ellen Podgor gives out her "White Collar Crime Awards" here. My favorite, of course: The award for "Sentencing Sanity - To Hon. Ellen Huevelle for consistently rejecting DOJ's draconian sentencing recommendations ."
4. I also enjoyed reading this article about a big firm lawyer who spent a year as a prosecutor. Her take on how she handled so many cases:
"Controlling a room, or at least giving the impression you're in control, is absolutely fundamental," she says. "When people came to that room, I was gracious, but I treated them like a guest." That meant police officers, victims, defendants, bailiffs, court clerks, defense attorneys, and even "the judge, frankly, was a guest."