Monday, May 4, 2015

The Best Justice Money Can't Buy


Oh, the irony...
After years of striking down campaign finance laws, the U.S. Supreme Court on April 29 upheld a Florida rule that bars judicial candidates from personally asking for campaign contributions. Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion drew a distinction between regulating legislative and judicial campaigns: “Judges are not politicians, even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot.”
The Roberts court has received strong criticism for decisions such as Citizens United that deny that campaign cash can lead to “the appearance of corruption,” but in Wednesday’s Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar ruling, the chief justice acknowledged that campaign cash can cause the public to suspect bias or corruption. The court noted that voters could doubt a judge’s ability to rule “without fear or favor” if he or she “comes to office by asking for favors.
The dissents by justices Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia argued that the Florida rule was both too broad—covering requests to friends who are not lawyers—and too narrow—failing to prohibit judges from sending thank-you notes to donors. But the majority concluded that the rule was an appropriate means of preserving the public’s view of judges as fair and impartial.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander, I always say.


4 comments:

  1. Citizens United had nothing to do with donations to candidates.

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  2. Not quite - the Court said basically that protecting the public perception of the impartiality of the judiciary is a significant enough reason to restrict direct solicitation by judicial candidates. Pretty narrow ruling actually.

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  3. GW - poignant ... BB is in Hospice.

    Very sad.

    GB

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  4. I'd say that our campaign finance system is 'like' legalized bribery except it is legalized bribery.

    Prayers for BB!

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