In 1927, Chief Justice William Howard Taft led a unanimous Court to determine that, at minimum, the right to an impartial and independent judiciary meant that the judge had to lack a personal interest in the outcome of the trial. While the decision, Tumey v. Ohio, was based on a judge’s pecuniary interest, it was also part of Taft’s efforts to ensure that the nation’s judges, from the municipal courts to the Supreme Court had the public’s confidence in their integrity. Tumey, therefore, is not simply a decision on pecuniary interests. It can, and should, be applied to judicial elections, including the financing of elections and limits on election speech, as well as a judge’s association or relationships with the litigants.
Cleveland State Law Review
Joshua E. Kastenberg,
Chief Justice William Howard Taft's Conception of Judicial Integrity: The Legal History of Tumey v. Ohio,
Available at: http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/law_facultyscholarship/416