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High Court Recusals Questioned After Split Rulings

Law360 (March 4, 2008, 12:00 AM EST) -- Chief Justice John Roberts' recusal from participating in a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, preventing what would have been a decisive vote in a product liability suit against Pfizer Inc., has renewed concerns about the high court's recusal process.

As a result of the 4-4 split by the remaining justices overhearing the case, the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's ruling allowing Michigan residents to advance claims against Pfizer unit Warner-Lambert over the diabetes drug Rezulin. An evenly split court automatically upholds a lower court's ruling and offers no guidance for lower courts.

While the Supreme Court does not make public...

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