This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
The Supreme Court giveth, and the Supreme Court taketh away.
The cause of judicial integrity got a big boost last year when the high court ruled that a West Virginia justice shouldn’t have helped decide a lawsuit involving a donor who’d given $3 million to his election campaign. (He decided in favor of the donor.)
The ruling – Caperton v. Massey – has prompted that state judiciaries to look hard at which judges are deciding which cases affecting which political supporters.
Washington’s supreme court may soon require that judges disqualify themselves from proceedings in which big campaign donors stand to gain. The U.S. Supreme Court got it right in Massey, and the Washington Supreme Court ought to adopt the proposed rule.
That would give pause to the people who’ve been pouring ever-larger sums into judicial races, expecting that they’ll have a judge in their corner when their case is heard If that judge has to withdraw from that case, there’s considerably less incentive to buy a court seat for a friend. Read more »