Meaning of recuse in English:


Pronunciation /rɪˈkjuːz/


[with object]
  • 1mainly North American Challenge (a judge, prosecutor, or juror) as unqualified to perform legal duties because of a potential conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.

    ‘he was recused when he referred to the corporation as ‘a bunch of villains’’
    • ‘I have increasingly seen cases in which applications to recuse a judge have been made in circumstances where three or four years ago no one would have dreamt of it.’
    • ‘A notice enclosed with the copy of yesterday's Third Circuit ruling that the court sent to me by mail indicates that a majority of the Third Circuit's active judges is recused from the case.’
    • ‘If the Judge is indeed recused from death penalty cases, this will make the average Ninth Circuit death penalty case more anti-death-penalty.’
    • ‘Number two, he's very bombastic in his motion papers, saying the prosecutors should be recused or the prosecutor should be substituted or thrown off the case.’
    • ‘And that leaves you really with either asking the judge to recuse the D.A. or asking for a curative instruction every time this happens.’
    • ‘But I don't see how either of those substantive views I hold counts as a basis for recusing Justice Scalia.’
    • ‘In this case, he ruled from the bench, saying that the defense's motion to recuse Mr. Sneddon and his office from this case held no merit.’
    • ‘Ashcroft couldn't transfer the case to the U.S. attorney in New Jersey because the prosecutors there asked to be recused from the case.’
    • ‘Justices would be recused by a vote of the Court, with individual members opting to vote for recusal based on their desired outcome in the case.’
    • ‘The second-year judge that was scheduled to handle the case was not being recused from the case.’
    • ‘She is the one who asked to recuse the Los Angeles court.’
    • ‘Next, a judge from Jackson County, Tracy Klinginsmith, recused all the prosecutors in Tomasic office - after all, their boss had been directly targeted by the defendants, and was himself recused.’
    • ‘The justices said in a brief order, ‘In accordance with its historic practice, the court refers the motion to recuse in this case to Justice Scalia.’’
    • ‘How is the question - to recuse or not to recuse - made any more relevant by the fact that they hunted together again this year?’
    • ‘One of the plaintiffs in that litigation, the conservationist Sierra Club, has filed a motion to recuse Scalia from further participation in the case.’
    1. 1.1recuse oneself(of a judge) excuse oneself from a case because of a potential conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.
      ‘it was the right of counsel to ask a judge to recuse himself from continuing to hear a case because of bias’
      • ‘Mr Justice Newman had concluded that the District Judge should have recused himself and that the Defendant should have recognised the strength and gravity of the impact of this.’
      • ‘Three judges had recused themselves, and rehearing the case would require the support of a majority of the remaining 23.’
      • ‘The Plame investigation took a quantum leap in December 2003, when Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself.’
      • ‘Under existing law, such an allegation required the judge to recuse himself.’
      • ‘Under the law, there is a provision whereby judges can recuse themselves - that is, stand aside on the grounds of apparent bias.’
      • ‘I also pointed out at the time that the judge had recused herself, which was, of course, the cause of the comment.’
      • ‘The judge will not be recusing himself in this case, and I really don't think that that was something that the defense team wanted.’
      • ‘And the way the law works if there's any appearance of partiality, the judge is obligated to recuse himself, and he did.’
      • ‘In this regard, my friend Craig Harrison tells me that three judges have recused themselves.’
      • ‘And of course, during those long periods of eight Justices, one recusing him or herself eliminates the possibility of a tie, so recusal doesn't always result in judicial gridlock.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘reject’, specifically ‘object to a judge as prejudiced’): from Latin recusare ‘to refuse’, from re- (expressing opposition) + causa ‘a cause’. The current sense dates from the early 19th century.