The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider the case of Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Company, involving a judicial recusal in West Virginia where judges are elected. The precise question presented is "whether Justice Benjamin’s failure to recuse himself from participation in his principal financial supporter’s case violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." Factual background indicates that Justice Benjamin challenged incumbent Justice Warren McGraw in the 2004 elections, and during that election cycle the CEO of A.T. Massey Coal Company gave approximately $3 million dollars in direct and indirect contributions to a fund opposing reelection of Justice McGraw, who eventually lost the election. Some years later, A.T. Massey Coal sought review by the state supreme court of a $50 million verdict against it. Justice Benjamin declined to recuse himself. The case has not yet been set for argument.
This case bears watching as it could impact recusals in Texas and other states that elect members of the judiciary.
For further discussion of this case, go to SCOTUSblog.