U.S. Supreme Court hears judicial ethics dispute

    The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a sensitive dispute about judicial ethics. At issue – when do elected judges have to recuse themselves if a campaign contributor is party to the case? The ruling could affect how judges in Pennsylvania are elected.

    The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a sensitive dispute about judicial ethics. At issue – when do elected judges have to recuse themselves if a campaign contributor is party to the case? The ruling could affect how judges in Pennsylvania are elected. WHYY’s Susan Phillips reports.

    Transcript:
    Pennsylvania is just one of six states where all judges, including Supreme Court justices are elected.  This means they have to raise money.  Shira Goodman is with the judicial reform group Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts.

    Goodman: “And the people who traditionally have given most of that money are lawyers and organizations and entities who often appear before them in the state courts later.  So it could affect who gives, if judges can sit on cases involving donors if people continue to give or not.”

    Goodman’s organization wants Pennsylvania’s judges to be selected based on merit, not money or votes.  That would require an amendment to the state’s Constitution.  The Supreme Court is not expected to rule on the case until the end of their spring term.

    Listen:
    Click on the play button below or right click on this link and choose “Save Link As” to download.

    [audio: reports20090304supcojudge.mp3]

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