Gavel Grab

Three West Virginia Justices Recuse in Public Financing Case

Three West Virginia Supreme Court justices have disqualified themselves from hearing a case involving the state’s public financing program for high court campaigns, and three lower court judges were named to take their places.

Allen Loughry, a Republican candidate for the state Supreme Court, is asking the court to order release of matching funds to his campaign under the statute, passed by legislators to reduce the influence of special-interest money on the courts. Loughry is the sole candidate campaigning for the high court this year to seek, and receive, public funding under the pilot program.

Justices Robin Jean Davis, Brent Benjamin and Margaret Workman have recused from hearing the case, according to a West Virginia Record article. Loughry is a law clerk for the state Supreme Court.

The statute allows release of additional, or matching, funds to help publicly financed candidates when privately funded opponents or independent groups outspend them. A U.S. Supreme Court decision last year, invalidating a similar provision in an Arizona law, has raised questions for some about the constitutionality of the West Virginia provision. To learn more, see Gavel Grab.

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