posted on October 31, 2012 16:02
Looking at the big money backing Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, a knowledgeable lawyer warns: “There would seem little doubt now but that Justice Newby will have to recuse himself from any redistricting case that might come before the high court.”
The lawyer says Newby may also have to recuse himself from cases involving business or corporations.
This lawyer writes: “The reason is actually very simple: Judges should only hear cases with a completely unbiased view when the case reaches the court. It is obvious from the very statements of the financial supporters who have already poured $$$$$$ into the Newby campaign, including that of Tom Fetzer, that they expect Newby to vote to protect the redistricting plan passed by the Republican-led legislature last year.
“Also, Newby goes around the state making speeches about his ‘business’ background. No doubt that is why the NC Chamber of Commerce and other business-related contributors have given huge sums toward his election. He may be asked to recuse in some of those cases as well.
“Lawyers generally agree that recusal of judges is a difficult issue. Apparently, there is no bright line formula for making the determination. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that there must be an inquiry as to the influence of financial contributions to a judicial campaign that ‘would offer a possible temptation to the average … judge to …lead him not to hold the balance nice, clear and true.’
“This one seems like a no-brainer to me. Newby would have to be made out of stone to ignore the expectations of those responsible for his election.”
One factor is the sheer volume of money, which dwarfs the candidates’ spending.
Craig Jarvis reported in the N&O: “Money keeps pouring into efforts to retain state Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby over challenger Sam Ervin IV, an appellate court judge – more than $2.5 million in total so far.
“Newly posted campaign finance records show a huge infusion of out-of-state funding, including national Republican interests trying to protect redistricting maps….
“A huge part of that – $860,000 – comes from the Republican State Leadership Committee, based in Washington, D.C. The Institute for Southern Studies, in an analysis Tuesday, reports the RSLC has a vested interest in keeping the GOP-drawn congressional and legislative district intact, an issue that will end up before the state Supreme Court, which currently tilts conservative 4-3.”
It seems clear what they expect for their money.