[JURIST] US District Judge Karen Caldwell [official profile] has ruled [PDF text] that a Kentucky ban preventing judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign funds is a violation of the First Amendment. The state argued that the ban was in place to promote judicial impartiality, but Caldwell ruled that ethics rules and criminal laws in Kentucky [JURIST news archive] prevent judges from promising to rule in a contributor's favor in exchange for campaign money and noted that, under current law, campaign committees are permitted to ask for contributions on behalf of judges.
The lawsuit, filed by Kentucky Supreme Court candidate Marcus Carey, is one of many similar cases filed since the US Supreme Court [official website] decided Republican Party of Minnesota v. White [opinion text]. In the 2002 decision, the high court ruled that judicial candidates should not be prevented from publicly sharing their views on legal or political issues. Caldwell similarly struck down an ethics rule that prohibited candidates from announcing their political affiliations during campaigns. Thursday's New York Times has more.