Judicial Disqualification Reform Pushed Back by ABA

According to a post on the ABA Journal website, “two ABA committees were finalizing a proposal on judicial disqualification issues relating to spending in judicial election or retention campaigns” but those plans have been put on hold. “They decided to hold off on bringing their resolution to the House in February so that further discussions can be held with other interested entities.” According to the article, they are taking their time to solicit more input, specifically from “the Judicial Division, the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, and the Standing Committee on Judicial Independence.” The post adds, “The issue of judicial disqualification, or recusal, stemming from campaign contributions is not about to go away anytime soon. Some form of judicial election occurs in 37 states. And if initial findings on spending in campaigns at the state level in the November elections is any indication, the issue is likely to intensify.” Right now the proposed change seems minor, but some argue that it is a stronger proposal than it seems, “The proposed new language would apply Rule 2.11(A)(4) to contributions that are made both to support a judge’s campaign and those in opposition to the judge.…The problem is that the new language puts the onus on judges to figure out not only where their financial support came from in an election campaign, but to identify the sources of money being spent in opposition to them…”

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