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O'Connor Will Keynote Forum On Supreme Court Election Cases

Publication Date: 
January 14, 2010
The Blog Of Legal Times
Tony Mauro

The Blog of the Legal Times carried this story in advance of a keynote speech by Stanford Law alumna and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor:

In her continuing campaign to spotlight the way in which state judges are selected, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will speak Jan. 26 at a Georgetown University Law Center forum on two Supreme Court decisions affecting the debate -- one of which has still not been announced.

The daylong conference, co-sponsored by Georgetown and the Aspen Institute's Justice and Society program, will focus on last year's decision in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. and this term's still-pending decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The Caperton ruling said the Due Process Clause can sometimes require a state judge to recuse in a case involving a major donor to his or her election campaign. Citizens United could decide whether bans on direct corporate spending in campaigns violate the First Amendment.


The title of O'Connor's talk is "Choosing (and Recusing) Our State Court Justices Wisely." Among the scheduled speakers are: Utah Chief Justice Christine Durham, president of the Conference of Chief Justices; former Texas Chief Justice Thomas Phillips, now a partner at Baker Botts; Rebecca Kourlis, former Colorado Supreme Court justice and now director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System; Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21; Bert Brandenburg, director of Justice at Stake; Jan Baran, partner at Wiley Rein; former Federal Election Commission chairman Bradley Smith, now a professor at Capital University Law School; former American Bar Association president H. Thomas Wells Jr.; Karl Sandstrom, former FEC commissioner now of counsel at Perkins Coie; Carte Goodwin, chair of West Virginia's Independent Commission on Judicial Reform; and law professors Pamela Karlan and Roy Schotland of Stanford Law School and Georgetown, respectively. (Note: the author of this post will moderate one of the panels.)