University of Denver

Groups Seek Justice Newby's Recusal Based on Campaign Support (Updated)

Former Manager, Quality Judges Initiative

Several groups have filed a motion requesting that Justice Paul Newby recuse himself from hearing their challenge to the legislature’s redistricting plan because of the campaign support he received from individuals and groups with a direct stake in the outcome of the litigation. Quoting language from the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Caperton v. Massey regarding when judges must recuse themselves based on campaign support, a handful of non-profit organizations argued that the $2 million spent by conservative entities toward Justice Newby’s reelection “had a significant and disproportionate influence” in his victory. Attorneys for legislators who drew the redistricting maps argued in response that money spent by outside groups did not affect Justice Newby’s fairness and that such a standard for recusal is unworkable.