The Supreme Court’s decision in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar to uphold the state’s solicitation law comes as a surprise. Based on the Court’s recent rulings in several campaign finance cases, many scholars anticipated that the Court would find Florida’s solicitation law to be unconstitutional. The Court’s opinion in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (2002), which declared that announce clauses violate a judicial candidate’s First Amendment rights, was more reason to anticipate the Court ruling in favor of Williams-Yulee.
Although the ruling was surprising, the question is whether it matters. Certainly many scholars, practitioners, and judicial reformers are already hailing yesterday’s decision because they believe it protects the integrity of the courts and promotes judicial legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Indeed, some of the contributors to this symposium take such a position. However, I question whether