Justice Lloyd Karmeier of the Illinois Supreme Court has rejected a request by lawyers for plaintiffs suing Philip Morris to recuse himself from participating in an appeal on grounds there was a public perception he is biased, the Madison-St. Clair Record reported.
In a rare, 16-page order, Justice Karmeier explained his decision not to recuse and he “addressed the plaintiffs’ allegations he voted to overturn the $10.1 billion verdict against the tobacco company in 2005, the year after it funneled donations to his campaign for the high court,” the newspaper said.
When Justice Karmeier was elected in 2004, the candidates raised $9.3 million, a national record at the time for a two-candidate race. He wrote in the recent order declining to recuse that “In reality, the notion that movant (Philip Morris) was responsible for financing my run for office ten years ago is just that, a notion. It is based entirely on conjecture, innuendo and speculation which, once started, took on a life of its own for a while in the press.”
You can learn more about Justice at Stake’s advocacy for stronger recusal rules, as unprecedented levels of campaign cash are being spent in state judicial elections by parties who appear in court, from the JAS website.