Recusal, Public Financing Proposals Aired in Washington

washington_flag_mapReform proposals affecting impartial justice in Washington state include calls for more restrictive judicial recusal rules and for public financing of state Supreme Court justice elections.

In the wake of two high-profile Supreme Court rulings that have favored teachers unions, state Rep. Matt Manweller, a Republican, submitted paperwork this week for a recusal initiative. Under it, according to Crosscut, a 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.

For background about increasing scrutiny paid to judicial campaign donors in Washington, see Gavel Grab. This week, Chief Justice Barbara Madsen was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “”We have an elected judiciary whose job is to decide constitutional questions fairly and impartially.”

Meanwhile state Rep. Reuven Carlyle, a Democrat, intends to push again a bill that he introduced last year for the public financing of state Supreme Court races.

Crosscut describes itself as a non-profit, electronic news journal.