CHIEF Justice John Roberts did something last week that he hasn’t done in three years: side with the liberal justices against his conservative friends on the Supreme Court. The occasion was a case involving a would-be judge in Florida, Lanell Williams-Yulee, who broke a rule against personally soliciting funds during her unsuccessful bid in 2009 to become a Hillsborough County Judge. For violating Canon 7C(1) of Florida’s Code of Judicial Ethics, Ms Williams-Yulee was slapped with a rebuke and a $1,860.30 fine. She responded with a lawsuit complaining that the ethics rule intruded on her freedom of speech.
The majority opinion in Williams-Yulee v Florida Bar, issued on April 29th, opens by noting a distinction between judges and other elected officials: “Judges are not politicians, even when they come to the bench by way of the ballot,” Chief Justice Roberts writes. "A State...Continue reading