In a controversial West Virginia challenge, 27 former chief justices and justices of 19 state Supreme Courts are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that a judge must recuse himself or herself from a case in which a party has made a substantial financial contribution to the judge’s election.

“Substantial financial support of a judicial candidate — whether contributions to the judge’s campaign committee or independent expenditures — can influence a judge’s future decisions, both consciously and unconsciously,” the former justices explain in an amici brief filed in Caperton, et al. v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., et al .