Definition of recuse in US English:



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

    ‘a motion to recuse the prosecutor’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘But I don't see how either of those substantive views I hold counts as a basis for recusing Justice Scalia.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If the Judge is indeed recused from death penalty cases, this will make the average Ninth Circuit death penalty case more anti-death-penalty.’
    • ‘The second-year judge that was scheduled to handle the case was not being recused from the case.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She is the one who asked to recuse the Los Angeles court.’
    1. 1.1recuse oneself (of a judge) excuse oneself from a case because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.
      ‘the Justice Department demanded that he recuse himself from the case’
      • ‘And the way the law works if there's any appearance of partiality, the judge is obligated to recuse himself, and he did.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In this regard, my friend Craig Harrison tells me that three judges have recused themselves.’
      • ‘Under existing law, such an allegation required the judge to recuse himself.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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.