From NPR News:
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments [today] testing whether a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice violated the U.S. Constitution when he ruled in a death penalty case that he had been involved with as a prosecutor.
At issue is whether then-Chief Justice Ronald Castille, by refusing to recuse himself, denied the defendant, Terrance Williams, a fair hearing.
Full story and link to the audio clip here.
A Special Court of Review appointed by the Texas Supreme Court recently dismissed all charges against Judge Michelle Slaughter of the Texas 405th District Court in Galveston. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct previously had issued a public admonition about Judge Slaughter’s use of Facebook to inform the public of proceedings in her court. The case raises a host of interesting questions about free speech, the elected judiciary, comments by judges on pending cases, and the use of social media by judges. A link to the full opinion is available here. (Disclaimer: I served as an expert witness on behalf of Judge Slaughter regarding the first amendment issues presented by the case.)
As a supplement to materials on the special role of judges in Chapter 7, I show this Nightline clip on Don Blankenship’s role in the Massey Coal case and the profile on Greg Wersal from Duke Law’s film on White v. Republican Party of Minnesota. For videos I show with the material on special duties of prosecutors, see this post.