Williams-Yulee Ruling Shows “Corrosive Effect” of Money in Judicial Campaigns

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As we reported earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down a ruling in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar.

The case concerns the balance between the right to free speech and the compelling state interest in preserving public confidence in the courts.

The ruling determined candidates for judicial office do not possess a constitutional right to directly solicit campaign contributions from potential donors.

American Constitution Society‘s President Caroline Fredrickson issued the following statement:

“This ruling recognizes the corrosive effect money has had in judicial elections and helps to restore the image of state courts as fair and impartial. The Court’s decision will help stem the trend of politicization that has been occurring in the state courts.”

In her concurring opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited the ACS report Skewed Justice. The report found the explosion in spending on television attack advertisements in state supreme court elections accelerated by the Citizens United decision has made courts less likely to rule in favor of defendants in criminal appeals For more information about the negative impact of judicial elections and unrestrained campaign spending, read the ACS reports Skewed Justice and Justice at Risk.

Ginsburg also cited, a Brief for Professors of Law, Economics, and Political Science. The group of scholars who signed this brief included Professors Joanna Shepherd and Michael Kang, the authors of Skewed Justice and an earlier ACS report, Justice at Risk, which the brief drew heavily.

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