A Dissenting Opinion on ‘Williams-Yulee’ Ruling

The counsel for the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, Jonathan Keim, writes in a Washington Times op-ed that the Supreme Court got it wrong when it upheld in April a Florida ban on judicial candidates directly soliciting campaign money.

After disagreeing with the high court’s interpretation of case law, Keim goes further to criticize limits on speech in judicial elections in general. “Restrictions on speech in judicial elections virtually guarantee that the government will use its power—power that ultimately comes from the people anyway—to insulate itself from accountability. And that is fundamentally undemocratic,” he writes.

Justice at Stake said the following when the court decided the case, Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar: “Bans on personal campaign solicitations by judges and judicial candidates are entirely reasonable provisions that work to preserve public trust in our courts. Today’s decision helps judges, by saving them from the compromising job of raising cash from people whose cases they will decide. It helps our court system, by shoring up its ability to be fair and impartial. And it helps the public, by reassuring them that they will not find themselves in court before a judge who has received a check directly from the opposing party in their case.” You can read other discussion of the ruling in earlier Gavel Grab posts.