In my practice of law I have come across terms that are, in usual life, designations of emotions or moral principles.
It is anybody's guess how emotions or moral concepts wormed their way into the legal terminology, but they are there, and they may affect your rights (as well as mine).
That test is (nearly) or, realistically, actually impossible to meet, and for a reason.
So - searching the conscience of the court is also an exercise that proves that the courts are not really separated from the church. It is a rather mystical experience, and one must have blind faith to believe the judge in what he says without having any proof of validity of his/her claims, and no guidelines for application of this test.
Since the test is defining a fundamental constitutional right of litigants, the right to a fair and impartial tribunal, my belief is that litigants are entitled to more than having the object of their motion for recusal alleging misconduct or conflicts of interest, or an appearance of impropriety searching their own conscience. Announcing that your federal fundamental constitutional right to a fair and impartial tribunal, as New York judges do, is, in my view, the height of arrogance and disdain to the rule of law and to the oath of office that they took when they donned their black robes.
And, as I stated earlier in my blog, peremptory challenges to judges instead of motions to recuse that more often than not bring sanctions from those "unbiased" judges who "searched their conscience" and found "no hard feelings" against the moving party, are long overdue in New York.
Also long overdue is a legislation expressly prohibiting judges to punish attorneys and parties for making a motion to recuse and/or disqualify and announcing such decisions, if made, void as a matter of law without necessity to move to vacate them, because such efforts, as I am finding out, will be blocked by the courts on any possible and impossible pretexts.
Contempt of court
The public is expected to trust in the integrity of the judiciary, allegedly so that the rule of law be maintained in the country.