Court Rules Judges Can Mention Party Affiliation

By Richard Nelson

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September 1, 2016

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Judges run for election in Kentucky but they've been so highly restricted from saying anything meaningful that voters hardly know why they should vote for them. Even for a judge to mention their party affiliation was considered improper. That's no longer the case since the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that judges running for office are free to name their political party and participate in political activities. However, they're not allowed to contribute to a political group or candidates. Christopher Wiest, the lawyer challenging the law argued that judicial candidates should be free to speak truthfully—which includes allowing them to be honest about their political affiliation. Wiest said “No person comes to any public office as a blank slate. Everyone has their views of the world, and I think the public has a right to know those views.”

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center