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Caperton and campaigns for the U.S. Supreme Court

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3 Responses

  1. Confused 2(now 3)L says:

    I see one fundamental flaw in the analogy, the new Justice once confirmed has a lifetime appointment. The WV justice, by contrast faces a new round of elections in 3(?) years. While the any support a candidate for confirmation to the Court receives will no doubt play some role in their memory and life, and granted that no judge is truly capable of divorcing themselves entirely from their experiences in ruling, any support during the confirmation process would be unlikely to amount to more than a tiny voice in the public dialogue and that candidates life experience.

    What makes the issue so different in Caperton is not that Justice Benjamin owed a debt to Blankenship for his election, it is that the debt was a continuing element of bias. I think the facts of Caperton highlight this well, seeing how the bulk of the money spent by Blankenship was directed towards a virulent attack on the opposing candidate for the seat. This makes it clear that Blankenship was prepared and capable of removing a member of the judiciary that offended him, and by extension Massey. The perception, whether valid or not, that Justice Benjamin would need Blankenship’s benefice, or at the very least need to avoid his wrath, in order to be reelected is unescapable in Caperton. As opposed to a Justice of the Court, who is accountable to no one but themselves once confirmed, ask Eisenhower about that.

  2. Logan says:

    I’m not sure it would require recusal because the Justice would be so far removed from the money spent on the confirmation. The reason is that all of the money spent in support or against an appointee would be directed at the public. The public would then put pressure on their respective Senators, who would then vote on the confirmation of said Justice. Thus, the money is widely dispursed and has little causal impact.

    Now if it was found that a given amount of money was spent directly lobbying a few key Senators in the confirmation battle, it might make sense for the Justice to have to recuse him/herself. Similarly, if the Justice has financial holdings in Green Company X and if a case before the Court could either increase or decrease the value of said holdings, he/she should recuse themselves.

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