State Regulation of Judicial Campaign: The Constitutionality of Limiting Political Activities and Speech of State Trial Court Candidates
Posted: 29 Mar 2010
Since the US Supreme Court decided Republican Party of Minnesota v. White in 2002, there have been serious questions about the constitutionality of Judicial Canons which bar judicial candidates from activity and speech that would clearly be constitutionally protected if engaged in by non-judicial candidates. This paper examines the ways in which some states have responded to White by allowing judicial candidates greater latitude in voicing their political views, while other states, such as Ohio, have moved in the opposite direction. Particular attention is devoted to the constitutionality of Ohioﾒs 2009 modifications of its Code of Judicial Conduct which further restricted judicial candidatesﾒ political speech and association. Finally, the paper examines the impact of White on judicial election campaign advertising, speech and disciplinary measures in Ohio to determine whether the added restrictions have reduced partisanship and spending in contested judicial races.
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