Daily Briefs . . .

 ABA urges high court to uphold right to ban judicial solicitations

The American Bar Association Monday filed an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court asking that a Florida rule of judicial conduct that prohibits candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds be upheld as constitutional.

The brief was filed in the case Lanell Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, which is set for argument on Jan. 20, 2015. The Florida Supreme Court previously concluded that the Florida rule, Canon 7C(1), was constitutional under a standard of scrutiny that balanced free speech issues with Florida’s right to ensure the integrity of its judicial branch.
The ABA brief notes that the Florida rule is almost identical to the ABA’s 1972 version of Model Canon 7B(2) and the ABA’s current version, Canon 4.1A(8). Similar language has been adopted by 29 other states. These personal solicitation bans are constitutional, the ABA brief argues, because they place no limits on the judicial candidates’ ability to communicate their views or qualifications for office, or to form campaign committees to solicit funds to support their election efforts.

The prohibition on personal solicitation, the ABA brief points out, “does not prohibit candidates from soliciting other forms of support, like asking for votes or putting up yard signs.” Instead, the bans are narrowly tailored to address the potential for corruption and for the appearance of corruption of state judges by removing the judicial candidates from the potential for offering, or for being perceived by the public as offering, a promise in return for a campaign contribution, the brief states.

The Florida rule “does not bar a judicial candidate from sending mass mailings under his signature, or from giving campaign speeches to a crowd or intimate group; it only bars that mailing or speech from including a personal request for a campaign contribution,” the ABA brief notes.

Gov. Snyder vetoes BB gun, liquor license bills

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder has vetoed bills that would have loosened Michigan’s licensing restrictions on air guns and limited local governments’ freedom to set their own regulations.
Snyder said Monday that only part of a package backed by the National Rifle Association was sent to him before the Republican-led Legislature adjourned its two-year session. He says enacting just four of seven bills would create contrasting definitions and legal inconsistencies.
The NRA says Michigan is one of four states classifying most pellet guns as firearms.

Snyder also has vetoed legislation that would have prorated fees for liquor licenses.

He says it’s a “sensible” reform but would cost up to $600,000 in revenue. Snyder says he’s also concerned about limiting penalties for businesses that repeatedly sell alcohol to minors or visibly intoxicated customers.

LAD to conduct free outreach clinic Jan. 8

Legal Aid and Defender Association Inc. (LAD) will conduct a free outreach clinic on civil legal services for income-eligible residents of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties, including the city of Detroit, on Thursday, Jan. 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Capuchin Soup Kitchen, 1264 Meldrum St. in Detroit. 


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