Candidates Can Mislead…But Just Not Tell Outright Lies

posted by Judge_Burke @ 14:30 PM
August 26, 2016

Running for political office is not easy. If you are a major party candidate for President like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, you are constantly under the glare of the media. Unfortunately sometimes even honest differences in opinion are twisted into claims that one or the other is telling an outright lie.

The Washington Post Fact Checker  uses a Four Pinocchio scoring system. Why can’t these candidates simply mislead the voters and abandon outright lies? Judicial candidates in Kentucky can make misleading statements, but they can’t tell outright lies. Presumably that means no Four Pinocchios for them.

Kentucky judges can say they are endorsed by a political party or tout themselves as the conservative Republican or the liberal Democrat in the race. But, they cannot act as a party leader, or endorse or make political contributions to a candidate.

In a major ruling on political speech in judicial races, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday affirmed most of a federal judge’s opinion in May that erased many of the restrictions in non-partisan judicial races.

But the three-judge panel sent back a portion of the case for more deliberation in which U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar struck down a canon that barred candidates from making a commitment on an issue or case that is “inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of judicial office.”

The appeals court ruled in a lawsuit brought by three candidates in Northern Kentucky who said the Judicial Conduct Commission had violated their free-speech rights by threatening to discipline them. All three said they were interested in running again and wanted to clear up the rules.


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