National: Supreme Court considers whether judges can directly ask for campaign donations | The Washington Post
The Supreme Court’s latest test of whether campaign contribution restrictions violate free-speech rights split the justices into familiar liberal and conservative camps. And skeptical questions from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who probably holds the pivotal vote, did not bode well for Florida and 29 other states that forbid judicial candidates from directly soliciting campaign contributions. Such restrictions are needed, the states contend, because judges are not like other politicians. The public expects judges to be impartial, the states argue, and that perception is compromised when candidates directly ask for money. But Barry Richard, representing the Florida Bar Association, received sharp questioning from justices about whether Florida’s regulations are too porous to accomplish those goals. While candidates may not directly solicit contributions, they may organize a committee to ask for money, direct the committee toward potential contributors, see who gave and even send thank-you notes.