Faculty Publications

Title

Canons of ethics and accountability in state supreme court elections

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

State Politics and Policy Quarterly

Volume

9

Issue

1

First Page

24

Last Page

55

Abstract

This article examines the influence of several canons within state codes of judicial ethics aimed at constraining the campaigning of candidates running for U.S. state judicial office. These canons have been much debated since 2002, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that one of them, the announce clause, unconstitutionally restricted the free speech rights of candidates. Based on their likely influence on the availability of information in judicial contests, I hypothesize that the primary effect of these canons is to make incumbents less accountable to the public. Looking at U.S. state supreme court contests from 1998 to 2006 where incumbents are seeking re-election, I find strong evidence that four of the five canons make it less likely for challengers to arise, and I also find evidence that restrictions on candidate solicitation of funds favor incumbents in the general election. © 2009 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2009

DOI of published version

10.1177/153244000900900102

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