Mar 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A federal appeals court has restored Minnesota's restrictions on fundraising and endorsements by judicial candidates.
The full Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday reversed a three-judge appeals panel ruling in 2010 that declared the state's restrictions unconstitutional on free-speech grounds.
Former Minnesota Supreme Court candidate Greg Wersal has spent years challenging Minnesota rules that tightly restrict a judicial candidate's ability to personally solicit campaign donations, and that bar them from publicly endorsing or opposing other candidates for public office.
In a split decision, a plurality of the appeals judges concluded that the rules are constitutional. They say Minnesota has a compelling interest in preserving judicial impartiality and the appearance of judicial impartiality.
In two separate dissents, other judges maintain that the rules do violate First Amendment freedoms.