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Planned Parenthood: Arizona judge is biased, should recuse himself in abortion case

Bill Montgomery
Bill Montgomery speaking with attendees at the launch of the ASU Center for American Institutions in 2022.

In December, Arizona’s Supreme Court will consider whether abortion can remain legal up to 15 weeks in the state, or if a near-total ban should take effect. Now, Planned Parenthood Arizona is formally requesting one of the justices be removed from the case.

In a 2017 Facebook post, Justice Bill Montgomery wrote that Planned Parenthood is responsible for “the greatest generational genocide known to man.” He also participated in a 2015 protest outside the organization’s Arizona headquarters.

Planned Parenthood Arizona, the state's largest abortion provider, is a plaintiff in the upcoming case. In a motion for recusal filed Thursday, attorneys for Planned Parenthood Arizona argue that Montgomery's public statements are examples of prejudice against their organization. They argue that should disqualify Montgomery from hearing the case.

"Planned Parenthood Arizona believes that all litigants in Arizona are entitled to have their cases heard by judges who are not biased against them," Planned Parenthood Arizona senior director of public policy and government relations, Kelley Dupps, said in a statement.

However, there’s no procedure to force a justice to step aside.

In a statement to Capitol Media Services earlier this week, Montgomery said he would not recuse himself. 

"As with any other case involving an issue I may have previously taken a position on while serving as an executive branch official, I will consider the facts and the law to determine the merits of any legal argument presented without regard for any prior position and without passion or prejudice,'' Montgomery said in the statement.

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.