TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Aug 2, 2012

In January, the Tennessee Supreme Court adopted an overhauled code of conduct for judges in the state, but days before the new rules were to take effect the court issued an order reversing one of the reforms. With that change, judges may continue making political contributions, though they may not endorse candidates. According to a story in the Tennessean, the change was prompted by concerns that prohibiting donations infringed on judges’ free speech rights. The TBA supported the move. Executive Director Allan Ramsaur explains: “The courts have held that money is speech” so unless there is a compelling reason to override First Amendment rights, donation restrictions “are pretty much frowned upon.”