U.S. SC denies review of judicial candidate rules

Jessica M. Karmasek Oct. 2, 2012, 8:20am

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal in a lawsuit over Minnesota's rules for judicial candidates.

On Monday, the nation's high court denied to review the case, Wersal, Gregory v. Sexton, Patrick, et al., according to an 88-page order list.

Gregory Wersal, who wants a seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court, filed an action challenging three provisions of the state's Code of Judicial Conduct -- the "endorsement," "personal solicitation" and "solicitation for a political organization or candidate" clauses.

He argued that they "unconstitutionally infringe" on the First Amendment rights of judicial candidates, such as himself.

A federal court granted summary judgment in favor of the members of the Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards and the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board.

On appeal, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed, concluding the clauses failed strict scrutiny.

In March, the Eighth Circuit granted the boards' petition for en banc review and affirmed the federal court's decision upholding the constitutionality of the challenged clauses.

In July, Wersal petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review.

In refusing to hear Wersal's appeal, the Court has decided it won't get involved in whether Minnesota judges can endorse other candidates and solicit campaign contributions.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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