Oct 14 2008
The New York Times reported this Saturday that the United States Supreme Court is nearing a decision whether to grant certiorari in Caperton v. Massey. The West Virginia case, which we have covered before, “turns largely on whether millions of dollars in campaign support from an interested party creates an appearance of impropriety so strong that recusal is required.” Gavel Grab and Slate offer good analyses of the questions raised by this case.
If the Supreme Court decides to hear Caperton, it could determine when a judge would have to remove him or herself from a case in which a campaign contributor is a party. Many people question the impartiality of judges hearing cases involving contributors to their own campaigns.
‘If the public believes that judges can be bought,’ said Keith R. Fisher, a lawyer for the bar association [one of several groups that have urged the Supreme Court to hear the case], ‘that is really poisonous and undermines public confidence in an independent judiciary.’
How much campaign money does it take to give the impression that justice is for sale? When does the appearance of impropriety become so great that a judge must step aside? Merit Selection eliminates these questions because it allows judges to focus on the law, not on expensive political campaigns.Tags: campaign contributions, Caperton v. Massey, Gavel Grab, other states, recusal, Slate, United States Supreme Court, West Virginia