Stay with me here, this will all make sense.
The Texas Democratic Party on Friday called for four of the state’s nine Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves from a case involving the Texas Republican Party’s in-person convention, claiming each had a conflict of interest.
The campaigns of Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justices Jane Bland, Jeffrey Boyd and Brett Busby each sponsored the convention, according to an archived list of sponsors that since has been removed from the Texas GOP’s website.
Texas GOP officials are seeking a writ of mandamus from the court that would block Turner from canceling the convention, a day after a Harris County judge denied the party’s attempt to do so in state district court.
Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said the four justices, each of whom is up for re-election in November, are “faced with an obligation to do the right thing and choose the law over political allegiance.”
“A justice who funds a dangerous convention should not judicially decide the fate of that same convention,” Hinojosa said in a statement. “All four have interests in the case coming before them and all four should recuse.”
See here for the background. The allegation is that by sponsoring the convention and being on the November ballot, these judges have a conflict of interest. A press release from the TDP provided the following justification for the petition:
Canon 3(B)(1) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct provides that Texas judges “shall hear and decide matters assigned to the judge except those in which disqualification is required or recusal is appropriate.”
Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 18(b) requires a judge to recuse themself from a case when “(1) the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned” or “(2) the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning the subject matter or a party.”
I’m not qualified to assess this claim, but I will note that if the four Justices do recuse themselves, there’s still enough justices left to issue a ruling, and since all nine are Republicans it doesn’t change the dynamic. Given the compressed timeline for this litigation, I presume we’ll get an answer quickly.