Caperton vs. A.T. Massey Coal Company

Birmingham Lawyers Chapter
Start : Thursday, July 23, 2009 11:30 AM
End : Thursday, July 23, 2009

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The Summit Club
1901 Sixth Avenue North, 31st Floor
Birmingham, AL 35203

Featured Speakers:
Harold F. See, Jr.
H. Thomas Wells Jr.
Kevin C. Newsom
J. Mark White



  • H. Thomas Wells Jr., American Bar Association President
  • J. Mark White, Alabama State Bar President
  • Kevin C. Newsom, amicus curiae counsel for several states in Caperton
  • Harold F. See, Former Associate Justice, Alabama Supreme Court

On June 8 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion holding that the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution required an elected West Virginia Supreme Court Justice to recuse from a case where the CEO of one of the parties had spent significant sums in support of that Justice's election campaign. In doing so, the Court's majority held that the test for federal due process-based recusal motions is "whether the contributor's influence on the election under all the circumstances ‘would offer a possible temptation to the average ... judge to ... lead him not to hold the balance nice, clear, and true.'"

The majority asserted that this test would affect only those situations involving "extreme" facts and therefore would not lead to a flood of new recusal motions. Chief Justice Roberts, in dissent, expressed serious doubts about that sentiment and expressed his belief that the decision will actually erode the public's confidence in its judges and will "inevitably lead to an increase in allegations that judges are biased, however groundless those charges may be."

Please join the Birmingham Lawyers Chapter of The Federalist Society a panel discussion on Thursday, July 23, regarding the Caperton opinion and how Caperton is expected to play out in Alabama -- a state that regularly receives media attention for costly judicial races.


Registration details: Cost: $12, includes lunch buffet
(Checks made payable to The Federalist Society)

RSVP: Please respond before 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21 to Casie Coggin at or 205-488-3517