Saying free-speech rights cannot outweigh the need to preserve judicial integrity, the en banc Ninth Circuit on Wednesday upheld an Arizona law banning judges from soliciting donations or stumping for colleagues. The 21-page lead opinion affirms five provisions in Arizona judicial code, which restrict judicial candidates from in-person solicitation or endorsing and campaigning for other candidates publicly, under the First Amendment.The goal here is to keep judges out of the normal give and take political campaigning process in order to keep them independent.
In Wisconsin court watchers are concerned that the upcoming Wisconsin Supreme Court race will be overly partisan. This illustrates yet another difficulty with judicial elections. Can judges be said to be truly independent when they run on a partisan platform?