Free speech: Federal court upholds ethics rule limiting judges’ speech on right to life

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Indiana anti-abortion group may not eliminate Illinois ethics rules prohibiting judges from speaking out on issues that might come up in court. -db

First Amendment Center
August 23, 2010
By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana anti-abortion group has lost its latest attempt to block state ethics rules that prohibit judges from speaking out on issues that might come up in court.

A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on Aug. 20 ruled against Indiana Right to Life in its lawsuit against Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and the state Commission on Judicial Qualifications.

At issue is a 2008 Right to Life survey that asked judicial candidates for their opinions on abortion law. The group, a judge and a candidate all argued in the lawsuit that the ethics rule violated freedom of speech.

The commission never has prosecuted any judge who answered the survey.

Attorney James Bopp said the group would ask the entire court to rehear the case.

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Copyright 2010 Associated Press FAC Content Use Policy

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