Monday, January 23, 2006

Republican, Democrat, and Incumbent

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving the right of judicial candidates in Minnesota to speak to partisan functions and mention party endorsements. The ethics rule, recently struck down by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, was ripe for challenge.

Opponents of frequent candidate Greg Wersal would criticize him for his association with the Republican Party. But the rules prohibited him from responding. In addition, candidates could speak to groups across the ideological spectrum, from Planned Parenthood to the NRA, as long as the groups were not "partisan." In this way, the ethics rule was both overbroad (prohibited more than it needed to, thus violating the First Amendment), and underinclusive (did not reach all of the supposed evil is purported to address).

More of my thoughts here and here.

Here are my predictions:

1. New task force by the bar association on how to "deal" with the ruling.
2. Breathless predictions of despair and destruction by retired and incumbent state court judges.
3. Some new rule that attempts to regulate just as much, thus getting around the ruling.
4. Without a hint of irony, harsh criticism of the federal judges who ruled in favor of Wersal, coupled with high-minded statements about judicial independence (for state court judges).


Blogger Aaron B. Solem said...

Swan blog

What other partisan restrictions are overbroad and underinclusive?

January 24, 2006 9:30 AM  
Blogger Derek Jensen said...

restrictions of 3rd party candidates from official debates

January 25, 2006 2:41 AM  

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