Issue 4:1 – January 1, 2010

Gavel to Gavel Issue 4:1  includes:

-Mississippi considers nonpartisan elections for Justice Court judges, currently the only jurists in the state that have to run in a partisan election.

-Indiana debates whether to require City and Town Court judges be admitted to the bar, a requirement for all other courts in the state.

Read it all here.

Special Edition: Judicial Recusal

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. contended with the issue of recusal and when a jurist’s refusal to do so was a due process violation. Coupled with the recent update to the ABA Mode Code of Judicial Conduct, several state judiciaries have begun to examine or reexamine their recusal standards.

State legislatures have not been idle either.  At least 17 states have examined issues surrounding the disqualification of judges from sitting on cases due to contributions to their campaigns or for other reasons. This special edition of Gavel to Gavel examines the legislation, sorted by what stage in the legislative process the bills reached as of July 2009.

Welcome to Gavel to Gavel: The Blog

Welcome to Gavel to Gavel: The Blog.

When Gavel to Gavel began publication in 2007, it was to identify trends in legislation affecting the courts. The publication was always meant to be a means to inform the ongoing debates regarding the relationship between the judiciary and legislature. With the addition of the Gavel to Gavel database in 2009, this was expanded to allow for those interested in the courts to more easily discover what it was legislatures in other states were considering. This expansion into the blogosphere was the next logical step.

This blog is intended to be a relatively open forum to provide more depth and analysis than what can be provided for in the weekly publication. The blog will also include posts from readers and others to discuss and elaborate on the pending legislation, either as subject experts or people in-state who can better lay out the environment. This is not so much a replacement for the weekly edition, but an extension.

Your thoughts, ideas, posts, and questions are welcome. You can reach me at If you are interested in subscribing to the weekly publication, email

Bill Raftery
Editor, Gavel to Gavel