The Supreme Court announced that it will take up a Colorado court case regarding the electoral college. However, there’s once justice that won’t be hearing the arguments.
The Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday that Justice Sonia Sotomayor is stepping down from her duties for a Colorado case on whether a state can determine electors cast their vote in a presidential election.
Conflict of interest
Sotomayor’s reason for recusing herself from the case is that one of the plaintiffs, Polly Baca, is a long-time friend of Sotomayor. According to NBC News, both Baca’s sister and brother-in-law lived for a time at Sotomayor’s residence in New York.
The network stated that Sotomayor will be involved in a similar case from Washington state. While her absence from the Colorado case does create the potential for a 4-4 tie, the same issues are at stake in the case from Washington, meaning that the matter will be resolved one way or another.
“The justice believes that her impartiality might reasonably be questioned due to her friendship with respondent Polly Baca,” Supreme Court Clerk Scott Harris wrote in a statement.
“The initial conflict check conducted in Justice Sotomayor’s Chambers did not identify this potential conflict,” she continued.
Sotomayor was at the center of another recusal controversy last month when President Trump publicly accused both she and Justice Ruth Ginsburg of bias, demanding that both step back from certain cases.
“I just don’t know how they cannot recuse themselves for anything Trump or Trump-related,” the president said at a press conference in India on February 24.
“What Justice Sotomayor said yesterday was highly inappropriate,” he continued. “She’s trying to shame people with perhaps a different view into voting her way.”
Those comments came in the wake of a dissent Sotomayor wrote condemning the Trump administration for seeking relief from the Supreme Court whenever lower courts rule against it.
“Claiming one emergency after another, the government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases, demanding immediate attention and consuming limited court resources in each,” she complained. “And with each successive application, of course, its cries of urgency ring increasingly hollow.”
Trump’s objection to Ginsburg stems from negative remarks she made about him during the 2016 campaign. She later apologized for her statements.