Thursday, May 1, 2014

Candidates for Judicial Office Are Still Not Permitted to Personally Solicit Campaign Contributions.



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.)

5 comments:

  1. Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey said it best:

    BABY IF YOU GIVE IT TO ME, I'LL GIVE IT TO YOU, I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.

    YOU KNOW I GOT IT
    BABY IF YOU GIVE IT TO ME, I'LL GIVE IT TO YOU,
    AS LONG AS YOU WANT, YOU KNOW I GOT IT

    -GB

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  2. Sadly, having elected judges requires them to exercise this dignified conduct: have a cocktail party thrown for you in the lobby of a large law firm. Say something very nice about how appreciative you are and how hardworking you've been. Everyone claps. Then the attorney who arranged the fundraiser/reception tells everyone to give generously and there are donation envelopes strategically placed next to the wines and canapes. No rules broken.

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  3. uh, then the judge rules in favor of the attorney who arranged the money making event.

    no big deal, right?

    thats cool

    that secures the appearance of neutrality.

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  4. No, they're generally impartial. But when they're on the fence about a ruling they'll tip in favor of the cocktail reception venue.

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  5. We have two choices: public financing of elections or set up a viewing room where our politicians can perform public sex acts for money. At least then we'll know what they're giving and what they're getting.

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