Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar - Wikipedia

Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar
Argued January 20, 2015
Decided April 29, 2015
Full case nameLanell Williams-Yulee, Petitioner v. The Florida Bar
Docket no.13-1499
Citations575 U.S. 433 (more)
135 S. Ct. 1656; 191 L. Ed. 2d 570; 83 U.S.L.W. 4269; 25 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 213; 2015 WL 1913912; 2015 U.S. LEXIS 2983
ArgumentOral argument
Opinion announcementOpinion announcement
Case history
PriorOn writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Florida; Fla. Bar v. Williams-Yulee, 138 So. 3d 379 (Fla. 2014)
The First Amendment does not prohibit States from barring judges and judicial candidates from personally soliciting funds for their election campaigns, provided the restriction on speech is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest. Supreme Court of Florida affirmed.
Court membership
Chief Justice
John Roberts
Associate Justices
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
Clarence Thomas · Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer · Samuel Alito
Sonia Sotomayor · Elena Kagan
Case opinions
MajorityRoberts, joined by Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan; Ginsburg (except Part II)
ConcurrenceGinsburg (in part), joined by Breyer (Part II)
DissentScalia, joined by Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I, Florida Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 7C(1)

Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, 575 U.S. 433 (2015), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the court held that the First Amendment did not prohibit states from barring judges and judicial candidates from personally soliciting funds for their election campaigns since that specific restriction on candidate's speech was deemed to be narrowly tailored to serve the compelling interest of keeping the judiciary impartial.[1] It is a rare instance of a government regulation passing strict scrutiny.[2]

At issue in the case was a Florida law which barred judges from personally soliciting campaign funds. However, judges could still set up a committee in order to raise campaign funds. Williams-Yulee was a judicial candidate in Hillsborough County, Florida, who sent out a soliciting letter for campaign contributions. She also posted the letter to her website. Williams-Yulee lost her campaign to the incumbent judge. The Florida Bar filed a complaint against her for violating the law shortly afterwards.[1]

The effects of the ruling has been a point of discussion among academics. For instance, Josh Wheeler writing for SCOTUSBlog raised concerns about greater restrictions on judicial speech and the weakening of the strict scrutiny standard.[3]


  1. ^ a b Andrew Lessig, "Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar: Judicial Elections as the Exception", The DIGEST: National Italian American Bar Association Law Journal, Apr. 24, 2016.
  2. ^ Hudson, David L. Jr. "Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar". www.mtsu.edu. Retrieved 2021-01-20.
  3. ^ "Symposium: "Seem familiar?" and other random musings on Williams-Yulee". SCOTUSblog. 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2021-01-20.

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