At a Chicago forum sponsored by Justice at Stake, speakers including legal reform experts and New York state’s chief judge focused on issues of judicial recusal and campaign contribution disclosure, with an eye on protecting fair and impartial courts.
“This is one of the most important topics you’ve never heard of,” Bert Brandenburg, JAS executive director, told the forum, according to a partial transcript from the blog of the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice.
Among topics addressed were the threat posed to public trust in the courts by big judicial election spending; steps taken — and in some cases, not taken — by states in response to the Supreme Court’s Caperton v. Massey decision; and the American Bar Association’s adoption last year of a resolution urging strong judicial recusal guidelines for states (see Gavel Grab).
Chicago Appleseed was a co-sponsor for the event. Also co-sponsoring the forum were the American Bar Association, Chicago Council of Lawyers, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, the American Constitution Society, and the Union League Club of Chicago’s Public Affairs Committee and its Judiciary Subcommittee.
In addition to Brandenburg, speakers included Judge Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York; Adam Skaggs, Senior Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice; and Cynthia Gray, Director, American Judicature Society Center for Judicial Ethics.
In February, Justice at Stake and a partner legal reform group called at an American Bar Association meeting for more rigorous judicial recusal rules to protect fair and impartial courts. To learn more, see Gavel Grab.