Three of us testified before a joint hearing of the Texas House Elections and Civil Jurisprudence committees on Thursday, August 26th. The session was dedicated to the effect of Caperton v Massey on Texas judicial campaign law. This case involves recusal rules for judges who hear cases involving campaign contributors, but we advocated for citizen funded elections as a way to minimize the need for recusals. The nightmare scenario is a case in which one or both parties have contributed to most or all of the Justices’ campaigns and they all have to recuse themselves.
Diane Owens and Joanne and Ham Richards testified as members of the Coffee Party. They coordinated their testimony to cover the following:
- Diane Owens – Surveyed existing state laws providing for citizen-funded judicial elections (NC, NM, WV & Wisconsin)
- Joanne Richards – Explained how citizen funded elections might be used in Texas State Appellate and Supreme Court races.
- Ham Richards – Summarized polls showing strong public belief that campaign donations to judicial candidates affect the outcome of decisions.