Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar heard by U.S. Supreme Court

The audio recording of the argument in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, regarding whether Florida’s rule of judicial conduct that prohibits candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds violates the First Amendment, won’t be posted until the end of the week, but SCOTUSblog has two pieces that provide insight into the proceedings:

 

U.S. Supreme Court to hear case on campaign fundraising limits imposed on Florida judicial candidates

On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, the United State Supreme Court will consider, in the case of WILLIAMS-YULEE V. FLORIDA BAR, whether Florida’s rule of judicial conduct that prohibits candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

On May 1, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court approved a referee’s findings of fact and recommendation that a judicial candidate be found guilty of violating Rule Regulating the Florida Bar 4-8.2(b) (Judicial and Legal Officials, Candidates for Judicial Office; Code of Judicial Conduct Applies) for personally soliciting campaign contributions in violation of Canon 7C(1) of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct and rejected the judicial candidate’s constitutional challenge to the ban imposed by Canon 7C(1) on a judicial candidate’s personal solicitation of campaign contributions.  The Florida Supreme Court held that the Florida Judicial Canon is constitutional because it promotes the State’s compelling interests in preserving the integrity of the judiciary and maintaining the public’s confidence in an impartial judiciary, and that it is narrowly tailored to effectuate those interests.  This case dates back to a 2009 fundraising letter that was signed by the judicial candidate.

Florida’s rules for judicial elections prohibit judges from personally soliciting campaign funds and instead permit judicial candidates to establish committees to make such solicitations.

Coverage and commentary on the case:

Vote!

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Today is the Primary Election in Florida – even if you are not registered with a party, there are probably judicial (and maybe other) races on the ballot for you.  Don’t know where your precinct is?  Use the State’s voter registration tool to look it up or check on your absentee ballot.

Early voting locations

Depending on the county in which you live, early voting has either begun or is about to begin for the August 26, 2014 Primary Election.  The Division of Elections has published a list of all early voting sites in Florida – be sure to check the days and times available, as each county supervisor of elections was given discretion by this language in Section 101.657, Florida Statutes:

(d) Early voting shall begin on the 10th day before an election that contains state or federal races and end on the 3rd day before the election, and shall be provided for no less than 8 hours and no more than 12 hours per day at each site during the applicable period. In addition, early voting may be offered at the discretion of the supervisor of elections on the 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, or 2nd day before an election that contains state or federal races for at least 8 hours per day, but not more than 12 hours per day. The supervisor of elections may provide early voting for elections that are not held in conjunction with a state or federal election. However, the supervisor has the discretion to determine the hours of operation of early voting sites in those elections.