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Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 5-14-15 featuring Brian Fitzpatrick and Erik Jaffe
Erik S. Jaffe, Brian T. Fitzpatrick May 14, 2015

On January 20, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar. This case asks whether Florida’s rule of judicial conduct that prohibits candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds violates the First Amendment.

In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court held by a vote of 5-4 that Florida's rule does not violate the First Amendment. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida was affirmed. Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the Chief Justice’s opinion in full and Justice Ginsburg joined all except Part II. Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion. Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, which Justice Breyer joined as to Part II. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which Justice Thomas joined. Justices Kennedy and Alito also filed dissenting opinions. 

To discuss the case, we have Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School and Erik Jaffe, who is a sole practitioner at Erik S. Jaffe, PC.

Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Judicial Election Fundraising - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Erik S. Jaffe May 11, 2015

On April 29, the United States Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar allowing states to bar candidates for judgeships from personally asking for campaign donations. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts noted the importance of “public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary,” concluding that “States may regulate judicial elections differently than they regulate political elections, because the role of judges differs from the role of politicians.” In dissent, Justice Scalia noted that the majority disregarded “one settled First Amendment principle after another” to reach its result.

  • Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Erik S. Jaffe, Sole Practitioner, Erik S. Jaffe, PC

Political Contribution Limits, Labor Unions, and Businesses - Podcast

Litigation and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Podcast
James Manley March 26, 2015

The laws of six states prohibit businesses—but not unions or other groups—from contributing to political parties, committees, or candidates. On February 24, 2015, the Goldwater Institute filed suit on behalf of two family-owned Massachusetts businesses to challenge Massachusetts’ political contribution ban. Since 1908, businesses have faced a total contribution ban, but special rules implemented in 1988 allow unions to contribute as much as $15,000 before any disclosure requirements or other contribution limits apply to the union. After unions have donated $15,000 to campaigns, their PACs can continue to contribute up to the ordinary limits. Meanwhile, business-funded PACs are banned from contributing. Does the Massachusetts law violate state and federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection, free speech, and free association?

  • Jim Manley, Senior Attorney, Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, The Goldwater Institute

Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 2-5-15 featuring Erik Jaffe and Ed Whelan
Erik S. Jaffe, M. Edward Whelan III February 05, 2015

On January 20, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar. This case asks whether a rule of judicial conduct that prohibits candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds violates the First Amendment.

To discuss the case, we have Ed Whelan who is the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and Erik Jaffe, who is a sole practitioner at Erik S. Jaffe, PC.

Judicial Campaign Fundraising and the Supreme Court: Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Erik S. Jaffe, M. Edward Whelan III January 22, 2015

On Tuesday, January 20, the Supreme Court heard argument in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, a First Amendment case involving the manner in which elected judges may raise campaign funds for themselves. The issue is whether a widely adopted provision of the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, which prohibits judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign funds, violates the First Amendment. Personal solicitation of campaign funds raises concerns that prospective or sitting judges might favor or disfavor litigants and attorneys based on how they responded to such solicitation. On the other side of the issue, once States have decided to elect judges, free political speech becomes a critical component of any fair and democratic election process. In addition to broader arguments regarding the proper scope and function of the First Amendment in the context of judicial elections, this case will involve more focused First Amendment questions regarding whether the current rule, as adopted in Florida, is actually effective in preserving the existence or appearance of impartiality and whether there are less restrictive means – such as recusal – to further such goals.

  • Erik S. Jaffe, Sole Practitioner, Erik S. Jaffe, PC
  • M. Edward Whelan III, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center