UPDATE: Very nice work Professor, thank you.
@Davidovalle305 tweeted this. We don't know his source and it is not up on the Florida Supreme Court Website yet:
BREAKING: Fla Supreme Court says Judge Jackie Schwartz should be suspended 30 days, fined $10K for telling store clerk "Go Fuck Yoursef."
Here is the order. The court did not suspend Schwartz. But essentially offered the 30 day suspension and 10K fine in addition to a reprimand and a letter of apology as a resolution the court would accept.
In an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, a sharply divided court, by plurality, affirmed a Florida Supreme Court ruling upholding Canon 7C(1) banning personal solicitation of campaign funds by judicial candidates. Lanell Williams-Yulee solicited, by mail and online, financial contributions for her campaign for County Court in Hillsborough County. She was unsuccessful in obtaining judicial office.
The Florida Bar filed a complaint against her for violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which is applicable to judicial candidates under Rule 4-8.2(b) of the Rules Governing the Florida Bar. She admitted she sent the solicitations, but argued she had a First Amendment Right to do so. The sanction recommended by the referee, upon conviction, was a public reprimand and costs. When the Florida Supreme Court adopted the referee's recommendations, she sought cert and it was granted.
The entire premise of the Court's opinion is that "Judges are not politicians, even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot." And even though they are elected, the State can make a decision not to treat judicial candidates like campaigners for political office. In essence, judges do not have a constituency. Their constituency is the law, not the people.
Justice Roberts makes it clear that the restriction on fund raising, although "free speech", meet the strict scrutiny test required for it to be upheld. The ban on solicitation aims squarely at the conduct most likely to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary: personal requests for money by judges and judicial candidates, and serves a compelling public interest.
The CJ took the time to comment on judicial elections. He stated that the desirability of judicial elections is a questions that has sparked disagreement for over 200 years. Our founding fathers (with the exception of Thomas Jefferson) thought an appointed judiciary was the best method to obtain an impartial judiciary. However CJ stated that it is not SCOTUS' place to resolve that "enduring debate."
However, there is good news for Richard Parillo and United Automobile Insurance Company. The Court had no problem with "campaign committees" and one must surmise that includes PACs like the one Parillo created to give Rodney Smith $250,000. So all you "robed warriors" and "would-be robed warriors" pay attention at the judicial campaign seminars the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee puts on each election cycle.
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