29 April 2015

Free Speech for Thee, and Not for Me

It looks like the Supreme Court has finally found a limit to campaign donations, limits on soliciting donations by candidates for Judgeships:
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld state laws that bar elected judges from asking for money to support their campaigns.

In a 5-4 decision, the court rejected a free-speech claim brought by a Florida judge.

"Judges are not politicians, even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot," Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. "A state may assure its people that judges will apply the law without fear or favor -- and without having personally asked anyone for money."

The decision marks one of the few times the high court has rejected a free-speech claim involving politics and campaigning. Roberts split from the court's four conservative justices to uphold the Florida law.

Rick Hasen, an election law expert at UC Irvine, called the ruling a surprise.

"This is a huge win for those who support reasonable limits on judicial elections. And getting Roberts on this side of the issue is surprising, welcome and momentous," he said.

In the last decade, critics of judicial elections, including retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, have argued that the public’s confidence in judges is being undercut by big-money campaigns. Even worse, these critics say, is having judges personally solicit contributions from people and companies who may have cases before the courts.

Until Wednesday's ruling, however, the Supreme Court had moved in the direction of allowing judges to campaign freely. In 2002, the justices struck down state bar rules that had prohibited elected judges from taking public stands on controversial issues.
The Supreme Court has been remarkably dismissive of the idea that campaign donations are corrupting, but when they look at their own profession, suddenly, it's an issue.

Seriously.  How about connecting the f%$#ing dots, you black robed morons?


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