State Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack’s recent guest column concerning non recusal of justices in cases in which they have received financial support from one of the parties involved ignores the fundamental responsibility of our justices — the need for fair and impartial jurisprudence.
She supports her position by citing the First Amendment and the need for elected officials to represent their constituents. However, the U.S. Constitution also commits to “substantive due process” in the 14th Amendment, which would be abrogated if the justices are, in effect, “paid off” by the litigants.
The U.S. Supreme Court agrees with the latter opinion; they heard a case concerning judges possibly biased by campaign contributors in June and ruled in favor of recusal (Caperton v. Massey Coal Co.)
As a citizen of Wisconsin, I believe our state Supreme Court should follow the lead of the U.S. Supreme Court and have justices recuse themselves from cases in which litigants have been substantial campaign contributors. It is embarrassing to live in a state in which the highest justices are political hacks of monied interest groups. It makes a mockery of our high court.
— Peter Beatty, Middleton