Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar was argued on January 20, 2015 and decided on April 29, 2015.

This case is about fundraising for judicial elections. A Florida rule states that candidates for an elected judgeship cannot personally solicit campaign donations, in order to preserve the impartiality judges need in office. Does this rule violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech?

Case Summary

  • Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar (Note: you will be prompted to create a Street Law store web account in order to download this free case summary.) 

Case Briefs

Amici

The ACLUPublic Citizen and Democracy 21, and other interest groups filed amicus briefs in this case. You could assign some students to research those groups’ interests and prepare a brief for the Court from one interest group’s perspective. These groups’ briefs are available on SCOTUSblog’s case page.

Oral Argument

Decision

Legal/Content Background

Williams-Yulee deals with the important intersection between election campaigns and free speech. A controversial issue that often returns to the Court, this is an opportunity for students to explore how we should balance freedom of speech with the potentially corrupting influence of money in politics. It also raises issues about judicial elections. Some parties argue that corruption, or at least the appearance of corruption, is inherent when judges are elected, yet 39 states choose to elect at least some judges. This case can be a great companion to exploring how we choose judges.

Deliberations

Related Street Law Content

(Note: you will be prompted to create a Street Law store web account in order to download this free case summary.) 

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