Upholds State Bans on Judicial Campaign Solicitations, Fortifies Judicial Independence

Washington, DC – Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an important campaign finance case Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, upholding a state ban on direct campaign solicitations by judicial candidates.

“The 5-4 decision in this case is a victory for the voters,” said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS). “Twenty-nine states have laws similar to the Florida ban. The court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, found the Florida ban to be constitutional because it increases the public’s confidence and trust in judicial candidates.”

The League of Women Voters of the United States and the League of Women Voters of Florida joined an amicus brief on Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, focusing on the constitutionality of a state prohibition on the direct solicitation of campaign donations by candidates for judicial office. The brief argued in favor of the prohibition because the public must have confidence in the independence and impartiality of judges.

“The League has been a leader in seeking campaign finance reform at the state, local and federal levels for more than three decades. The League joined in this case to further the simple goal of protecting government that is transparent and accountable to voters.” MacNamara said.

“The court’s decision in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar is an important step toward that goal,” concluded MacNamara.

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Contact: Kelly Ceballos, 202-263-1331, kceballos@lwv.org.

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