Campaign Finance Victory for Independent Judiciaries

In the 5-4 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with Justices Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan in a decision that would allow states to prevent judicial candidates from soliciting campaign contributions.

In the majority opinion, Chief Roberts wrote, “Judges are not politicians, even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot. And a State’s decision to elect its judiciary does not compel it to treat judicial candidates like campaigners for political office.”

Writing about the ruling, Bloomberg reporter Greg Stohr observed, “Spending on state judicial elections has soared in recent years, topping $56 million in the 2011-12 election cycle”

Later in Chief Roberts’ opinion, he cites the McCutcheon decision and states “The same is not true of judges. In deciding cases, a judge is not to follow the preferences of his supporters, or provide any special consideration to his campaign donors.”

Whether or not this gives supporters of campaign finance hope that the Supreme Court would make a future ruling to reverse the disastrous effects of recent cases such as Citizens United or McCutcheon is unclear. In his opinion, Chief Justice Roberts’ does not indicate a significant philosophical shift on his views regarding traditional political fundraising for executive or legislative offices.

“We applaud today’s ruling and hope that this is just the start of a series of rulings from the Supreme Court that will begin to dial back the damage caused by cases such as Citizens United, which have allowed corporations and wealthy individuals to exert undue influence on our political process,” stated Patriotic Millionaires Chairperson Morris Pearl.

You can read the full opinion of the Court here.

You can read more from Bloomberg Politics here.

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