The following comes from a June 22 story in Courthouse News.
A federal judge indicated Thursday he will likely nix an anti-abortion activist’s push to disqualify a judge who was weighing contempt charges against him for violating a court order.
“Your facts don’t fit into any of the cases I’ve seen where a recusal makes sense,” U.S. District Judge James Donato told abortion opponent David Daleiden’s attorney at Thursday’s hearing in the Northern District of California.
Daleiden, who heads the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, sought to disqualify U.S. District Judge William Orrick III just as Orrick was deciding whether to slap Daleiden and his attorneys with sanctions for releasing secretly taped videos of an abortion trade group’s meeting in violation of a court order.
Orrick issued an injunction barring disclosure of the videos in February 2016, finding the safety and privacy of the National Abortion Federation’s members outweighed the center’s First Amendment right to disclose information it obtained under false pretenses. To get into the meetings, Daleiden and others posed as a fake biomedical company.
Donato received the motion to disqualify Orrick on a random assignment, and he signaled on Thursday that arguments in favor of disqualification appear flimsy at best.
Daleiden claims Orrick should be disqualified based on his previous work with a Planned Parenthood-affiliated health clinic, his wife’s “liking” Facebook posts by abortion rights groups, and Orrick’s comments during a May 25 hearing.
Donato asked how a spouse’s publicly stated views could serve as evidence of judicial bias.
Daleiden’s attorney, Catherine Short, replied that Orrick appearing in his wife’s Facebook profile photo as she “likes” posts that are “highly derogatory towards the defendant” gives the appearance of bias, adding that Orrick has never stated equivocally that his wife’s views are not his own.
“It’s 2017,” Donato snapped. “Do you really have to say in this day and age that my wife is an independent person? When do we assume that a spouse has the same view as her husband?”
From what I remember, all it takes is the appearance of a conflict to disqualify a judge. It appears the deck is stacked.
No, the question is when do we assume that the wife has DIFFERENT views from her husband. Things have changed, but not that much. Nowadays, if the views are different for too long, people just get divorced.