7 CFR 900.55 - Judges.
(a)Assignment. No judge who has any pecuniary interest in the outcome of the proceeding, or who has participated in any investigation preceding the institution of the proceeding, shall serve as judge in such proceeding.
(b)Conduct. The judge shall conduct the proceeding in a fair and impartial manner and shall not discuss ex parte the merits of the proceeding with any person who is or who has been connected in any manner with the proceeding in an advocative or investigative capacity.
(1) Rule upon motions and requests;
(3) Administer oaths and affirmations and take affidavits;
(4) Issue subpenas, under the facsimile signature of the Secretary, requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, records, contracts, papers, and other documentary evidence;
(5) Examine witnesses and receive evidence;
(7) Admit or exclude evidence;
(8) Hear oral argument on facts or law;
(d)Who may act in absence of judge. In case of the absence of the judge or his inability to act, the powers and duties to be performed by him under these rules of practice in connection with a proceeding may, without abatement of the proceeding unless otherwise ordered by the Secretary, be assigned to any other judge.
(e)Disqualification of judge. The judge may at any time withdraw as judge in a proceeding if he deems himself to be disqualified. Upon the filing by an interested person in good faith of a timely and sufficient affidavit of personal bias or disqualification of a judge, the Secretary shall determine the matter as a part of the record and decision in the proceeding, after making such investigation or holding such hearings, or both, as he may deem appropriate in the circumstances.