US Supreme Court Holds That Justice Should Have Recused Himself | Speaker Law
phone icon email icon
(517) 482-8933

Speaker Law
Blog

US Supreme Court Holds That Justice Should Have Recused Himself

Posted on Monday, May 14, 2018

In the much-anticipated decision regarding judicial recusal, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Caperton v Massey Coal Co. that the West Virginia Supreme Court justice who received $3,000,000 in campaign contributions from a person who had a case pending before the Court should have recused himself because there was a "serious, objective risk of actual bias." The Court held that the petitioner's due process rights were violated when the W.Va. high court reversed the $50,000,000 trial court ruling in its favor, and instead, ruled in favor of the party who had contributed significant sums to one of the justice's recent campaign for election.

 

The majority opinion was particularly concerned by the "extreme" nature of this case, and considered the amount of campaign contributions in comparison to the total amount contributed and to the total amount spent in the election, along with the temporal relationship bewteen the campign contributions, the justice's election, and the pendency of this case. The Court noted that the "extraordinary contributions were made at a time when he [the donor] had a vested stake in the outcome" of the election due to his case that was being appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court.

 

The dissenting opinion by Justice Roberts raises concerns about how to implement the standard of what gives rise to the "probability" or "appearance" of bias. The dissent lists 40 questions that courts will have to answer in order to decide a recusal issue, such as (#1) how much money is too much money, (#7) how long does the probability of bias last, and (#13) must the judge's vote be outcome determinative in order for his non-recusal to constitute a due process violation?

Do you have an appeal?
Let's find out!

Recent
Posts

Appeals Court Denies Father’s Constitutional Challenge To Guardianship Statute
Oct 28, 2020
The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a probate court order gran...
Educational Neglect: Trial Court Correctly Assumed Jurisdiction Over Children
Oct 13, 2020
The Kalamazoo Circuit Court properly assumed jurisdiction over the ...
Trial Court Wrongly Imputed Overtime Income When Modifying Child Support
Oct 7, 2020
In this child-support modification case, the trial court erroneousl...
Trial Court Interfered With Parent’s Right To Question Guardian Ad Litem About Report
Sep 30, 2020
In this parenting-time dispute, the trial court improperly 1) treat...

Tags

 

Subscribe to our blog

* indicates required