As the deadline looms tomorrow for our judges to learn whether they drew any opposition (keeping our fingers crossed!), we are reminded that -- despite the countless judicial receptions and fundraisers held this cycle-- they are not allowed to personally solicit any campaign contributions.
In an opinion issued today, the Florida Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of this restriction, finding that Florida has a compelling interest in maintaining the dignity and impartiality of its judicial officers:
Under Canon 7C(1), the Respondent was not completely barred from soliciting campaign funds, but was simply required to utilize a separate campaign committee to engage in the task of fundraising. In other words, Canon 7C(1) is narrowly tailored because it seeks to “insulate judicial candidates from the solicitation and receipt of funds while leaving open, ample alternative means for candidates to raise the resources necessary to run their campaigns.” Simes, 247 S.W.3d at 883. We conclude that Canon 7C(1) promotes the State’s compelling interests in preserving the integrity of the judiciary and maintaining the public’s confidence in an impartial judiciary, and that it is narrowly tailored to effectuate those interests.Does the "separate campaign committee" really accomplish that worthwhile objective, or is the distinction getting a bit silly?
(I personally haven't seen anything untoward or inappropriate this season.)