What’s the holdup on the W.Va. cert petition?

scawvFolks in West Virginia and here in Washington are wondering why the Supreme Court has yet to rule on a certiorari petition asking whether due process requires the state’s elected judges to recuse themselves from cases involving their top campaign contributors.

That case, Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., has been on the justices’ consideration list for their last four private conferences. Yet, no action has been taken by the Court. An array of groups including The New York Times to the American Bar Association has urged the Court to take up the case, reports The Charleston Gazette.

Some think the delay is an indication that the Court has already made up its mind. “I always end up looking bad when I predict what the Court is going to do, but they are probably not going to grant cert and suggest that someone is more than likely writing an opinion regarding the denial of cert,” said Mark T. Stancil, an attorney at the Washington office of Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner, & Sauber at a recent panel discussion hosted by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

But Andrew Frey, an attorney petitioning the Court for certiorari in another West Virginia case involving appellate review – one of three the court is considering – told Lawyers USA last month that the Court could be waiting until the filings are in for all the cases to decide any of them. In that case, the Court’s order should be expected some time in December. More on the three cases can be found here on Lawyers USA and here from DC Dicta.

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