Kate Berry at the Brennan Center:
Should all judicial candidates be treated equally? This question gripped the Ninth Circuit during en banc oral argument earlier this month in Wolfson v. Concannon.* Plaintiff Randolph Wolfson is an Arizona lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for judicial office in both 2006 and 2008. Wolfson’s suit alleges that the ethical rules governing his campaign, found in the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct, place unconstitutional restrictions on speech. The trial court upheld all of the challenged rules, finding in favor of Defendant the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct, but a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed. Defendant successfully sought rehearing en banc, which took place after a stay pending the Supreme Court’s resolution of Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar last spring. In Williams-Yulee, the Courtupheld Florida’s ethical rule prohibiting judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions.