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?
The ACLU, Public 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.
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.
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.)
News Articles and Resources