Constitutional Challenges to Non-Partisan Judicial Elections – Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar

In Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, 135 S. Ct. 1656, 1658–59, 191 L. Ed. 2d 570 (2015), the Supreme Court held constitutional the prohibition on direct solicitation of funds.  The Syllabus read:
Florida is one of 39 States where voters elect judges at the polls. To promote public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary, the Florida Supreme Court adopted Canon 7C(1) of its Code of Judicial Conduct, which provides that judicial candidates “shall not personally solicit campaign funds … but may establish committees of responsible persons” to raise money for election campaigns.
Petitioner Lanell WilliamsYulee mailed and posted online a letter soliciting financial contributions to her campaign for judicial office. The Florida Bar disciplined her for violating a Florida Bar Rule requiring candidates to comply with Canon 7C(1), but Yulee contended that the First Amendment protects a judicial candidate’s right to personally solicit campaign funds in an election. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the disciplinary sanctions, concluding that Canon 7C(1) is narrowly tailored to serve the State’s compelling interest.
Held : The judgment is affirmed.
Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, 135 S. Ct. 1656, 1658–59, 191 L. Ed. 2d 570 (2015)

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