Annual Meeting

States should adopt judicial recusal procedures related to campaign financing, ABA House resolves

The ABA House of Delegates has adopted policy urging that states and territories adopt judicial disqualification and recusal procedures concerning campaign financing in judicial election campaigns. These procedures should take into account that certain campaign expenditures and contributions raise concerns about possible on judicial impartiality and independence; provide for timely resolution of disqualification and recusal motions; and provide for timely review of denials that is independent of the judge in question.

Resolution 105C (PDF) follows earlier efforts beginning in 2011 to address concerns raised by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., which said that due process requires recusal when campaign funding raises “a serious risk of actual bias.” A proposal in 2012 to add stricter, more detailed guidelines for judges ran into opposition. Thus the policy adopted today addressed procedures.

Speaking on behalf of the proposal and representing the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Robert S. Peck told the House of Delegates that the measure has the endorsement of the Conference of Chief Justices.

The policy was proposed by the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section.

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