Under a proposal in the Washington legislature last year, a state Supreme Court justice would have to step aside from a case if a litigant has given $1,000 or more to his or her election campaign in the past six years. Now, a new proposal apparently modifies the old one, according to Gavel to Gavel.
The new proposal would require disciplining of a judge if he or she fails to step aside upon learning that a party, attorney, or law firm donated $50 in the past three years to elect the judge. Judges would be required to disclose any $50 contributions made by these parties.
The original proposal came in the wake of two high-profile Supreme Court rulings that favored teachers unions (see Gavel Grab). Gavel to Gavel is a publication of the National Center for State Courts, a Justice at Stake partner organization.