If Judges Are Not Politicians, Why are Corporations People?

In Citizen’s United, The United States Supreme Court granted corporations the First Amendment right of people to participate in the political process. Now, in a 5-4 ruling the United States Supreme Court has held that laws barring judicial candidates from personally asking for campaign cash do not run afoul of First Amendment free speech rights.

“Judges are not politicians, even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. . “A state may assure its people that judges will apply the law without fear or favor – and without having personally asked anyone for money.”

The court’s four liberal justices joined Roberts.

The ruling took note of concerns that lawyers in particular might have a hard time refusing to contribute when a judge personally asks for campaign cash. Chief Justice John G. Roberts delivered the opinion of the Court (except as to Part II of his opinion) in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar. No. 13-1499. Justice Stephen G. Breyer issued a concurring opinion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, which Justice Breyer joined in part. Justice Antonin Scalia issued a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Clarence Thomas joined. And Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito, Jr. also issued dissenting opinions.

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