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Judicial elections

The 11th Circuit struck down part of the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct today. The particular rule forbade a candidate for judicial office from making a false or misleading statement (including a misrepresentation by omission of a material fact). After receiving a cease and desist order and a public reprimand from the Judicial Qualifications Commission 6 days before the election, the bad-mouthing candidate lost (Weaver) to the incumbent (Sears). Weaver sued in federal court and sought, among other things, a new election. The trial court found the rule a violation of the First Amendment. The 11th Circuit affirmed today, but denied both damages against the members of the Commission and a new election. The case is Weaver v. Bonner. You can download it from Findlaw or from the 11th Circuit website (look for the .zip file for 18 October).