On April 29, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision upholding the right of states to ban elected judges and judicial candidates from directly soliciting campaign contributions. In a ruling that affects many of the 39 states (including Florida) where voters elect judges, the high court concluded that the direct-solicitation ban does not violate the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantee. Becker & Poliakoff played a pivotal role in this case, submitting an amicus curiae brief on behalf of three retired chief justices of the Florida Supreme Court (Major Harding, Harry Lee Anstead, and Stephen Grimes) and four past presidents of The Florida Bar. The amicus brief, written by B&P shareholder (and board-certified appellate attorney) Daniel Wallach, told the story of Florida’s history of judicial corruption during the 1970’s and why Florida has an especially compelling state interest in preserving the direct-solicitation ban.
The majority opinion, penned by Chief Justice John Roberts, made specific reference to Florida’s past corruption scandals highlighted in Becker & Poliakoff amicus filing. Our amicus filing received significant national and local media attention, with coverage from the New York Times, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Tampa Tribune, Tampa Bay Times, and Daily Business Review.