June 8, 2009
The United States Supreme Court has held (by a 5-4 vote) that disqualification was required in the case involving the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The case involves the election of a justice to the court who thereafter refused to recuse himself from a matter involving the main contributor to his campaign. We will post some thoughts after reviewing the court's decision in Caperton v. Massey. (Mike Frisch)
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This is a very significant opinion.
There has been a lack of clarity in the recent cases as to whether the appearance of bias could amount to a denial of due process. Not any more. For the first time ever, the Court has made clear that the appearance of bias can raise to a constitutional level and not just an actual bias.
I found Chief Justice Roberts’ dissent very persuasive. But where he felt that the plethora of newly opened questions would create uncertainty, I did not see the same problem. All will, no doubt, be clarified over time – which is probably what is really bothering the Chief Justice. I definitely agree that this opens a door.
Posted by: FixedWing | Jun 8, 2009 1:12:17 PM