Deliberate Parenthood: Justice Montgomery too biased; must recuse in Arizona abortion ban case

An Arizona Supreme Courtroom decide with a
historical past of vilifying Deliberate Parenthood — as soon as going so far as accusing
it of orchestrating a genocide — ought to recuse himself from a case
involving the group, in response to the most recent court docket submitting. 

On Thursday, attorneys for Deliberate Parenthood Arizona submitted a movement for recusal,
arguing that Justice Invoice Montgomery ought to withdraw from a case set to
be heard in December that can decide whether or not abortion is banned
outright throughout the state. 

A 2017 Fb put up through which
Montgomery — then the Maricopa County legal professional — blamed Deliberate
Parenthood for the “biggest generational genocide identified to man,” first
reported by Phoenix New Occasions
after Montgomery was appointed to the state’s excessive court docket in 2019, has
elicited skepticism about his potential to stay neutral. 

The claims have been surfaced final week in a narrative co-published by the Arizona Mirror and The nineteenth.

“Deliberate Parenthood Arizona believes
that each one litigants in Arizona are entitled to have their instances heard by
judges who will not be biased in opposition to them, and that features Deliberate
Parenthood Arizona,” mentioned Kelly Dupps, the group’s senior
director of public coverage and authorities relations in an emailed
assertion.

Deliberate Parenthood Arizona runs 4
of the state’s 9 abortion clinics, and has been the primary litigant in a
lawsuit difficult the legality of a near-total abortion ban that
dates again to the Civil Warfare period. 

Final 12 months, former Legal professional Normal
Mark Brnovich, a Republican, went to court docket to reinstate an 1864 legislation that
punishes suppliers with a compulsory 2- to 5-year jail sentence if
they carry out an abortion for any motive aside from saving the affected person’s
life. Brnovich reasoned {that a} provision in a 2022 legislation banning abortions
after 15 weeks asserting that it doesn’t repeal previous legal guidelines meant that
the 1864 ban ought to return into impact. 

However Deliberate Parenthood Arizona argued
that the identical provision additionally protects each different legislation regulating
abortion care, that means the process ought to live on in some
type. A December 2022 ruling from the state’s appeals court docket upheld the 15-week ban over the 1864 legislation, however an anti-abortion physician is hoping to persuade the Arizona Supreme Courtroom to reverse that ruling. 

Montgomery has mentioned that he is not going to recuse himself
and that he’ll think about the deserves of the case with out letting his
private opinions sway him, however Deliberate Parenthood Arizona mentioned his
professed opposition to the group may jeopardize its proper to a
truthful trial. Montgomery couldn’t be reached for touch upon whether or not his
plans to stay on the case have modified. 

“There might be no query that
‘cheap minds’ would understand Justice Montgomery’s public assertion
accusing PPAZ of ‘genocide’ as reflecting adversely on his impartiality
on this case on condition that PPAZ is a celebration,” reads the transient. 

Arizona’s Code of Judicial Conduct
instructs judges to step other than instances through which their “impartiality
would possibly fairly be questioned,” together with conditions through which the decide
has a private bias or prejudice in opposition to one of many events or legal professionals
concerned. Judges are strongly inspired to keep away from any impression of
impropriety, outlined as conduct that may make a “cheap thoughts”
doubt the decide’s honesty or impartiality. The code additionally notes, nevertheless,
{that a} decide’s private views which battle with the arguments of the
concerned events, earlier rulings on associated instances and basic opinions
about authorized points don’t require recusal. 

However Deliberate Parenthood Arizona argued
that Montgomery’s place and bias in opposition to the group is just too
blatant to disregard. In 2015, Montgomery attended a protest in opposition to the group and accused it of committing “profit-driven atrocities.” 

“There’s no query that ‘cheap
minds’ would understand Justice Montgomery’s public assertion accusing
PPAZ of ‘atrocities’ whereas standing exterior PPAZ’s headquarters amid an
anti-PPAZ protest as reflecting adversely on his impartiality in a case
the place PPAZ is a celebration,” wrote attorneys. 

The attorneys added that their
argument wasn’t based mostly on Montgomery’s private views about abortion, however
somewhat on his repeated — and public — opposition to Deliberate Parenthood
Arizona. Refusing to withdraw from the case would quantity to a violation
of the group’s due course of proper to a good and neutral trial,
they claimed. 

The choice to recuse is solely
Montgomery’s, nevertheless, and there’s no means for Deliberate Parenthood
Arizona to enchantment if he opts to not sit out the case. The Arizona
Supreme Courtroom is scheduled to listen to oral arguments within the case on Dec.
12.