Justice for Sale? - Judicial Recusal, the 14th Amendment and Hugh M. Caperton vs. A.T. Massey Coal Company, Inc.
25 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2011
Date Written: May 1, 2009
This paper, researched and drafted in the spring of 2009, discusses judicial elections and the role of campaign contributions in judicial recusal with special attention given to the case of Caperton vs. A.T. Massey Coal Company, Inc. This West Virginia case illustrates the potential problems with judicial elections and campaign contributions when judicial recusal comes into play. I first discuss the contributions made to West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals candidate Brent D. Benjamin by the Chairman, CEO and President of Massey Coal, Don Blankenship followed by the arguments for and against recusal when a Massey Coal case came before the Supreme Court of Appeals after Benjamin was elected. I then evaluate these arguments against the “probability of bias” standard and offer my view on whether recusal was required in this case.
Keywords: judicial elections, judicial recusal, Massey Coal, recusal standards
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