firm refusal to yield to its attackers. For voluntary disqualification under those circumstances would only serve the malicious purpose of the Court's detractors. In the present case, however, no comfort can result to any adversaries of the Judiciary as a result of voluntary disqualification.
As a general rule, voluntary disqualification is an appropriate remedy in cases in which it may reasonably appear that the determination of the issues by the judge concerned might be improper, even though the facts do not support such a supposition.
In this connection the Court has been much impressed with the following statement of Mr. Justice Frankfurter in an opinion explaining his failure to take part in the consideration and decision of a recent case: 'When there is ground for believing that such unconscious feelings may operate in the ultimate judgment, or may not unfairly lead others to believe they are operating, judges recuse themselves. They do not sit in judgment. They do this for a variety of reasons. The guiding consideration is that the administration of justice should reasonably appear to be disinterested as well as be so in fact.' (Emphasis added.) Public Utilities Commission v. Pollack, 1952, 343 U.S. 451, 72 S. Ct. 813, 818, 822, 96 L. Ed. 1068.
The Court does not believe that any general principles can be laid down concerning the degree to which an appearance of bias, interest, or improper motive must exist before voluntary disqualification becomes desirable in any particular case. The availability of other judges, the inconvenience or prejudice to the public or parties which may result from the delay, the importance of the issues involved in the case, the nature of the actions which give rise to the appearance of partiality, and many other factors all may be relevant. Furthermore, it would be presumptuous for this court to attempt to lay down any general test. For the decision as to voluntary disqualification, perhaps more than any other decision, is one to be made in accordance with the dictates of the conscience of the individual judge -- and this Court's personal convictions can be of little assistance to others.
Concededly, in this case the appearance of judicial impropriety which would result from this Court's retention of jurisdiction would not be great. On the other hand, other judges are readily available, and the delay and inconvenience resulting from this Court's voluntary disqualification would be negligible. In balancing these factors the Court has taken into consideration the fact that confidence in the Judiciary is essential to the successful functioning of our democratic form of government. That form of government could not long survive if citizens could not have faith in the impartiality of judges. Though the making of this decision has been a most unpleasant task, the Court believes that a proper application of the standards governing the administration of criminal justice leaves no alternative. For those standards require the most scrupulous concern for appearances as well as for facts. In this regard the Court believes the following statement to be particularly pertinent: 'Criminal justice is concerned with the pathology of the body politic. In administering the criminal law, judges wield the most awesome surgical instruments of society. A criminal trial, it has well been said, should have the atmosphere of the operating room. The presiding judge determines the atmosphere. He is not an umpire who enforces the rules of the game, or merely a moderator between contestants. If he is adequate to his functions, the moral authority which he radiates will inspire the indispensable standards of dignity and austerity upon those who participate in a criminal trial.'
In view of the appearance of impropriety, in view of the minimal inconvenience which would result from the assignment of another judge to this case and in view of the rigid standards which must govern the administration of criminal justice, the Court is of the firm belief that it must voluntarily disqualify itself from any further proceedings in this case. Accordingly, the motion will be reassigned for argument before another judge.