Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. (U.S. Supreme Court)
Traditionally, in both British and American law, judges could be disqualified from participating in a case only if they had direct financial stakes in the case’s outcome. We argued that a judge should not be required to recuse himself from a case because one party made significant campaign contributions to defeat the judge’s opponent in a judicial election. The Court held that the Due Process Clause required a judge’s recusal because one individual who held a stake in the case had a “significant and disproportionate influence in placing the judge on the case” through contributions in a judicial election. The case was remanded to the Supreme Court of West Virginia over the vigorous dissent of four justices, who noted that the decision would create uncertainty about whether judges could legally participate in a wide range of cases.