SUPREME COURT OF LOUISIANA

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RESOLUTION

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WHEREAS, Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct regulates campaign conduct of judges and judicial candidates and requires generally that judges and judicial candidates refrain from inappropriate political activity; and

WHEREAS, judges occupy a unique position in state government, as they must be, both in appearance and in reality, fair and impartial to all who come before them; and

WHEREAS, judges and candidates are not required to abdicate their First Amendment rights when they decide to run for elective judicial office; and

WHEREAS, the Louisiana Legislature, in the Louisiana Election Code, R.S. 18:1463A, stated that "the state has a compelling interest in taking every necessary step to assure that all elections are held in a fair and ethical manner . . ."; and

WHEREAS, the Louisiana Legislature, in the Louisiana Election Code, R.S. 18:1461, prohibits, inter alia , certain fraudulent election activities; and

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of Louisiana similarly has a compelling interest in assuring that judicial elections are held in a fair and ethical manner, free from fraud and knowing falsehoods; and

WHEREAS, the unique role of the judiciary in state government requires that some minimal, reasonable restrictions be placed on judicial candidates' speech and expression, in light of Louisiana's compelling interest in preserving judicial integrity, independence and impartiality; and

WHEREAS, Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct balances these rights in a way which does not unnecessarily restrict speech on the part of judges and candidates, while preserving judicial integrity, independence and impartiality; and

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of Louisiana is sensitive to juxtaposing the First Amendment rights of judges and judicial candidates with the right of Louisiana citizens to an independent, fair and impartial judiciary; and

WHEREAS, in April, 2000, this Court appointed an Ad Hoc Committee to Study the Creation of a Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee; and

WHEREAS, the Committee has recommended the creation of a permanent Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee which would benefit Louisiana citizens by serving as a resource for judges and candidates, assisting in educating judges and candidates about ethical campaign conduct, and helping deter unethical judicial campaign conduct; and

WHEREAS, the Court believes the creation of a permanent Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee will improve the administration of justice in Louisiana; and

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court views many of the Ad Hoc Committee's recommendations, as modified through promulgation of this Resolution, to be meritorious;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the attached rules establishing the Louisiana Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee, and governing its operations, be and are hereby adopted. The rules are promulgated pursuant to Article V, Sections 1 and 5 of the 1974 Louisiana Constitution, and the inherent power of this Court, and shall be enacted as Rule XXXV of the Rules of this Court. The rules shall become effective on April 15, 2002, and shall remain in full force and effect thereafter until amended or changed through future orders of this Court.

New Orleans, Louisiana, this _13th_____ day of ___March_________, 2002.

FOR THE COURT:





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Pascal F. Calogero, Jr., Chief Justice

JOHNSON, J., dissents

TRAYLOR, J., dissents

VICTORY, J., dissents and  assigns reasons

RULE XXXV. Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee