Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar , 135 S. Ct. 1656 ( 2015 )


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  • (Slip Opinion)              OCTOBER TERM, 2014                                       1
    
                                           Syllabus
    
             NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
           being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
           The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
           prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
           See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 
    200 U.S. 321
    , 337.
    
    
    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
    
                                           Syllabus
    
                     WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
            CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA
    
        No. 13–1499. Argued January 20, 2015—Decided April 29, 2015
    Florida is one of 39 States where voters elect judges at the polls. To
      promote public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary, the Florida
      Supreme Court adopted Canon 7C(1) of its Code of Judicial Conduct,
      which provides that judicial candidates “shall not personally solicit
      campaign funds . . . but may establish committees of responsible per-
      sons” to raise money for election campaigns.
         Petitioner Lanell Williams-Yulee (Yulee) mailed and posted online
      a letter soliciting financial contributions to her campaign for judicial
      office. The Florida Bar disciplined her for violating a Florida Bar
      Rule requiring candidates to comply with Canon 7C(1), but Yulee
      contended that the First Amendment protects a judicial candidate’s
      right to personally solicit campaign funds in an election. The Florida
      Supreme Court upheld the disciplinary sanctions, concluding that
      Canon 7C(1) is narrowly tailored to serve the State’s compelling in-
      terest.
    Held: The judgment is affirmed.
    
    138 So. 3d 379
    , affirmed.
        CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court, except
      as to Part II, concluding that the First Amendment permits Canon
      7C(1)’s ban on the personal solicitation of campaign funds by judicial
      candidates. Pp. 8–22.
        (a) Florida’s interest in preserving public confidence in the integri-
      ty of its judiciary is compelling. The State may conclude that judges,
      charged with exercising strict neutrality and independence, cannot
      supplicate campaign donors without diminishing public confidence in
      judicial integrity. Simply put, the public may lack confidence in a
      judge’s ability to administer justice without fear or favor if he comes
      to office by asking for favors. This Court’s precedents have recog-
      nized the “vital state interest” in safeguarding “ ‘public confidence in
    2                  WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                                      Syllabus
    
        the fairness and integrity of the nation’s elected judges,’ ” Caperton v.
        A. T. Massey Coal Co., 
    556 U.S. 868
    , 889. Unlike the legislature or
        the executive, the judiciary “has no influence over either the sword or
        the purse,” Federalist No. 78, p. 465 (A. Hamilton), so its authority
        depends in large measure on the public’s willingness to respect and
        follow its decisions. Public perception of judicial integrity is accord-
        ingly “ ‘a state interest of the highest order.’ ” 556 U. S., at 889.
           A State’s interest in preserving public confidence in the integrity of
        its judiciary extends beyond its interest in preventing the appearance
        of corruption in legislative and executive elections, because a judge’s
        role differs from that of a politician. Republican Party of Minn. v.
        White, 
    536 U.S. 765
    , 783. Unlike a politician, who is expected to be
        appropriately responsive to the preferences of supporters, a judge in
        deciding cases may not follow the preferences of his supporters or
        provide any special consideration to his campaign donors. As in
        White, therefore, precedents applying the First Amendment to politi-
        cal elections have little bearing on the issues here.
           The vast majority of elected judges in States allowing personal so-
        licitation serve with fairness and honor, but in the eyes of the public,
        a judicial candidate’s personal solicitation could result (even unknow-
        ingly) in “a possible temptation . . . which might lead him not to hold
        the balance nice, clear and true.” Tumey v. Ohio, 
    273 U.S. 510
    , 532.
        That risk is especially pronounced where most donors are lawyers
        and litigants who may appear before the judge they are supporting.
        In short, it is the regrettable but unavoidable appearance that judges
        who personally ask for money may diminish their integrity that
        prompted the Supreme Court of Florida and most other States to sev-
        er the direct link between judicial candidates and campaign contribu-
        tors. Pp. 9–12.
           (b) Canon 7C(1) raises no fatal underinclusivity concerns. The so-
        licitation ban aims squarely at the conduct most likely to undermine
        public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary: personal requests
        for money by judges and judicial candidates. The Canon applies ev-
        enhandedly to all judges and judicial candidates, regardless of view-
        point or means of solicitation. And unlike some laws that have been
        found impermissibly underinclusive, Canon 7C(1) is not riddled with
        exceptions.
           Yulee relies heavily on the provision of Canon 7C(1) that allows so-
        licitation by a candidate’s campaign committee. But Florida, along
        with most other States, has reasonably concluded that solicitation by
        the candidate personally creates a categorically different and more
        severe risk of undermining public confidence than does solicitation by
        a campaign committee. When the judicial candidate himself asks for
        money, the stakes are higher for all involved. A judicial candidate
                       Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)                      3
    
                                  Syllabus
    
    asking for money places his name and reputation behind the request,
    and the solicited individual knows that the same person who signed
    the fundraising letter might one day sign the judgment. This dynam-
    ic inevitably creates pressure for the recipient to comply, in a way
    that solicitation by a third party does not. Just as inevitably, the
    personal involvement of the candidate in the solicitation creates the
    public appearance that the candidate will remember who says yes,
    and who says no. However similar the two solicitations may be in
    substance, a State may conclude that they present markedly different
    appearances to the public.
       Permitting a judicial candidate to write thank you notes to cam-
    paign donors likewise does not detract from the State’s interest in
    preserving public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary. The
    State’s compelling interest is implicated most directly by the candi-
    date’s personal solicitation itself. A failure to ban thank you notes for
    contributions not solicited by the candidate does not undercut the
    Bar’s rationale.
       In addition, the State has a good reason for allowing candidates to
    write thank you notes and raise money through committees. These
    accommodations reflect Florida’s effort to respect the First Amend-
    ment interests of candidates and their contributors—to resolve the
    “fundamental tension between the ideal character of the judicial of-
    fice and the real world of electoral politics.” Chisom v. Roemer, 
    501 U.S. 380
    , 400. The State should not be punished for leaving open
    more, rather than fewer, avenues of expression, especially when
    there is no indication of a pretextual motive for the selective re-
    striction of speech. Pp. 12–16.
       (c) Canon 7C(1) is also not overinclusive. By any measure, it re-
    stricts a narrow slice of speech. It leaves judicial candidates free to
    discuss any issue with any person at any time; to write letters, give
    speeches, and put up billboards; to contact potential supporters in
    person, on the phone, or online; and to promote their campaigns
    through the media. Though they cannot ask for money, they can di-
    rect their campaign committees to do so.
       Yulee concedes that Canon 7C(1) is valid in numerous applications,
    but she contends that the Canon cannot constitutionally be applied to
    her chosen form of solicitation: a letter posted online and distributed
    via mass mailing. This argument misperceives the breadth of the
    compelling interest underlying Canon 7C(1). Florida has reasonably
    determined that personal appeals for money by a judicial candidate
    inherently create an appearance of impropriety that may cause the
    public to lose confidence in the integrity of the judiciary. That inter-
    est may be implicated to varying degrees in particular contexts, but
    the interest remains whenever the public perceives the judge person-
    4                 WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                                      Syllabus
    
        ally asking for money. Canon 7C(1) must be narrowly tailored, not
        “perfectly tailored.” Burson v. Freeman, 
    504 U.S. 191
    , 209. The
        First Amendment does not confine a State to addressing evils in their
        most acute form. Here, Florida has concluded that all personal solici-
        tations by judicial candidates create a public appearance that un-
        dermines confidence in the integrity of the judiciary; banning all per-
        sonal solicitations by judicial candidates is narrowly tailored to
        address that concern.
          Yulee errs in contending that Florida can accomplish its compelling
        interest through recusal rules and campaign contribution limits. A
        rule requiring recusal in every case in which a lawyer or litigant
        made a campaign contribution would disable many jurisdictions, and
        a flood of postelection recusal motions could exacerbate the very ap-
        pearance problem the State is trying to solve. As for contribution
        limits, Florida already applies them to judicial elections, and this
        Court has never held that adopting such limits precludes a State
        from pursuing its compelling interests through additional means.
          The desirability of judicial elections is a question that has sparked
        disagreement for more than 200 years, but it is not the Court’s place
        to resolve that enduring debate. The Court’s limited task is to apply
        the Constitution to the question presented in this case. Judicial can-
        didates have a First Amendment right to speak in support of their
        campaigns. States have a compelling interest in preserving public
        confidence in their judiciaries. When the State adopts a narrowly tai-
        lored restriction like the one at issue here, those principles do not
        conflict. A State’s decision to elect judges does not compel it to com-
        promise public confidence in their integrity. Pp. 16–22.
    
       ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to Part
    II. BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined that opinion in full, and
    GINSBURG, J., joined except as to Part II. BREYER, J., filed a concurring
    opinion. GINSBURG, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concur-
    ring in the judgment, in which BREYER, J., joined as to Part II. SCALIA,
    J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which THOMAS, J., joined. KENNEDY, J.,
    and ALITO, J., filed dissenting opinions.
                            Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)                              1
    
                                 Opinion of the Court
    
         NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the
         preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to
         notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash-
         ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order
         that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.
    
    
    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
                                       _________________
    
                                       No. 13–1499
                                       _________________
    
    
         LANELL WILLIAMS-YULEE, PETITIONER v.
    
                  THE FLORIDA BAR 
    
        ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF 
    
                           FLORIDA
    
                                     [April 29, 2015] 
    
    
      CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the
    Court, except as to Part II.
      Our Founders vested authority to appoint federal judges
    in the President, with the advice and consent of the Sen-
    ate, and entrusted those judges to hold their offices during
    good behavior. The Constitution permits States to make a
    different choice, and most of them have done so. In 39
    States, voters elect trial or appellate judges at the polls.
    In an effort to preserve public confidence in the integrity
    of their judiciaries, many of those States prohibit judges
    and judicial candidates from personally soliciting funds for
    their campaigns. We must decide whether the First
    Amendment permits such restrictions on speech.
      We hold that it does. Judges are not politicians, even
    when they come to the bench by way of the ballot. And a
    State’s decision to elect its judiciary does not compel it to
    treat judicial candidates like campaigners for political
    office. A State may assure its people that judges will
    apply the law without fear or favor—and without having
    personally asked anyone for money. We affirm the judg-
    ment of the Florida Supreme Court.
    2             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
                                   I
    
                                   A
    
       When Florida entered the Union in 1845, its Constitu-
    tion provided for trial and appellate judges to be elected by
    the General Assembly. Florida soon followed more than a
    dozen of its sister States in transferring authority to elect
    judges to the voting public. See J. Shugerman, The Peo-
    ple’s Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America
    103–122 (2012). The experiment did not last long in the
    Sunshine State. The war came, and Florida’s 1868 Consti-
    tution returned judicial selection to the political branches.
    Over time, however, the people reclaimed the power to
    elect the state bench: Supreme Court justices in 1885 and
    trial court judges in 1942. See Little, An Overview of the
    Historical Development of the Judicial Article of the Flor-
    ida Constitution, 19 Stetson L. Rev. 1, 40 (1989).
       In the early 1970s, four Florida Supreme Court justices
    resigned from office following corruption scandals. Florida
    voters responded by amending their Constitution again.
    Under the system now in place, appellate judges are ap-
    pointed by the Governor from a list of candidates proposed
    by a nominating committee—a process known as “merit
    selection.” Then, every six years, voters decide whether to
    retain incumbent appellate judges for another term. Trial
    judges are still elected by popular vote, unless the local
    jurisdiction opts instead for merit selection. Fla. Const.,
    Art. V, §10; Hawkins, Perspective on Judicial Merit Reten-
    tion in Florida, 
    64 Fla. L
    . Rev. 1421, 1423–1428 (2012).
       Amid the corruption scandals of the 1970s, the Florida
    Supreme Court adopted a new Code of Judicial Conduct.
    
    281 So. 2d 21
     (1973). In its present form, the first sen-
    tence of Canon 1 reads, “An independent and honorable
    judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society.” Code of
    Judicial Conduct for the State of Florida 6 (2014). Canon 1
    instructs judges to observe “high standards of conduct” so
    that “the integrity and independence of the judiciary may
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)           3
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    be preserved.” Ibid. Canon 2 directs that a judge “shall
    act at all times in a manner that promotes public confi-
    dence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”
    Id., at 7. Other provisions prohibit judges from lending
    the prestige of their offices to private interests, engaging
    in certain business transactions, and personally partici-
    pating in soliciting funds for nonprofit organizations.
    Canons 2B, 5C(3)(b)(i), 5D; id., at 7, 23, 24.
      Canon 7C(1) governs fundraising in judicial elections.
    The Canon, which is based on a provision in the Ameri-
    can Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct,
    provides:
         “A candidate, including an incumbent judge, for a ju-
        dicial office that is filled by public election between
        competing candidates shall not personally solicit cam-
        paign funds, or solicit attorneys for publicly stated
        support, but may establish committees of responsible
        persons to secure and manage the expenditure of
        funds for the candidate’s campaign and to obtain pub-
        lic statements of support for his or her candidacy.
        Such committees are not prohibited from soliciting
        campaign contributions and public support from any
        person or corporation authorized by law.” Id., at 38.
      Florida statutes impose additional restrictions on cam-
    paign fundraising in judicial elections. Contributors may
    not donate more than $1,000 per election to a trial court
    candidate or more than $3,000 per retention election to a
    Supreme Court justice. Fla. Stat. §106.08(1)(a) (2014).
    Campaign committee treasurers must file periodic reports
    disclosing the names of contributors and the amount of
    each contribution. §106.07.
      Judicial candidates can seek guidance about campaign
    ethics rules from the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory
    Committee. The Committee has interpreted Canon 7 to
    allow a judicial candidate to serve as treasurer of his own
    4            WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    campaign committee, learn the identity of campaign con-
    tributors, and send thank you notes to donors. An Aid to
    Understanding Canon 7, pp. 51–58 (2014).
       Like Florida, most other States prohibit judicial candi-
    dates from soliciting campaign funds personally, but allow
    them to raise money through committees. According to
    the American Bar Association, 30 of the 39 States that
    elect trial or appellate judges have adopted restrictions
    similar to Canon 7C(1). Brief for American Bar Associa-
    tion as Amicus Curiae 4.
                                  B
      Lanell Williams-Yulee, who refers to herself as Yulee,
    has practiced law in Florida since 1991. In September
    2009, she decided to run for a seat on the county court for
    Hillsborough County, a jurisdiction of about 1.3 million
    people that includes the city of Tampa. Shortly after filing
    paperwork to enter the race, Yulee drafted a letter an-
    nouncing her candidacy. The letter described her experi-
    ence and desire to “bring fresh ideas and positive solutions
    to the Judicial bench.” App. to Pet. for Cert. 31a. The
    letter then stated:
        “An early contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, or
        $500, made payable to ‘Lanell Williams-Yulee Cam-
        paign for County Judge’, will help raise the initial
        funds needed to launch the campaign and get our
        message out to the public. I ask for your support [i]n
        meeting the primary election fund raiser goals.
        Thank you in advance for your support.” Id., at 32a.
    Yulee signed the letter and mailed it to local voters. She
    also posted the letter on her campaign Web site.
      Yulee’s bid for the bench did not unfold as she had
    hoped. She lost the primary to the incumbent judge.
    Then the Florida Bar filed a complaint against her. As
    relevant here, the Bar charged her with violating Rule 4–
                         Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)                    5
    
                              Opinion of the Court
    
    8.2(b) of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar. That Rule
    requires judicial candidates to comply with applicable
    provisions of Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct, including
    the ban on personal solicitation of campaign funds in
    Canon 7C(1).
      Yulee admitted that she had signed and sent the fund-
    raising letter. But she argued that the Bar could not
    discipline her for that conduct because the First Amend-
    ment protects a judicial candidate’s right to solicit cam-
    paign funds in an election.* The Florida Supreme Court
    appointed a referee, who held a hearing and recommended
    a finding of guilt. As a sanction, the referee recommended
    that Yulee be publicly reprimanded and ordered to pay the
    costs of the proceeding ($1,860). App. to Pet. for Cert.
    19a–25a.
      The Florida Supreme Court adopted the referee’s rec-
    ommendations. 
    138 So. 3d 379
     (2014). The court ex-
    plained that Canon 7C(1) “clearly restricts a judicial can-
    didate’s speech” and therefore must be “narrowly tailored
    to serve a compelling state interest.” Id., at 384. The
    court held that the Canon satisfies that demanding in-
    quiry. First, the court reasoned, prohibiting judicial can-
    didates from personally soliciting funds furthers Florida’s
    compelling interest in “preserving the integrity of [its]
    judiciary and maintaining the public’s confidence in an
    impartial judiciary.”     Ibid. (internal quotation marks
    omitted; alteration in original). In the court’s view, “per-
    sonal solicitation of campaign funds, even by mass mail-
    ing, raises an appearance of impropriety and calls into
    question, in the public’s mind, the judge’s impartiality.”
    Id., at 385. Second, the court concluded that Canon 7C(1)
    ——————
      * Yulee also contended that she had not violated Canon 7C(1), which
    applies to “a judicial office that is filled by public election between
    competing candidates,” because the incumbent judge had not declared
    his campaign for reelection at the time she sent her solicitation letter.
    She has since abandoned that argument.
    6             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                          Opinion
                        Opinion    ofOBERTS
                                of R  the Court
                                            , C. J.
    
    is narrowly tailored to serve that compelling interest
    because it “ ‘insulate[s] judicial candidates from the solici-
    tation and receipt of funds while leaving open, ample
    alternative means for candidates to raise the resources
    necessary to run their campaigns.’ ” Id., at 387 (quoting
    Simes v. Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability
    Comm’n, 
    368 Ark. 577
    , 588, 
    247 S.W.3d 876
    , 883 (2007)).
      The Florida Supreme Court acknowledged that some
    Federal Courts of Appeals—“whose judges have lifetime
    appointments and thus do not have to engage in fundrais-
    ing”—had invalidated restrictions similar to Canon 7C(1).
    
    138 So. 3d
    , at 386, n. 3. But the court found it persuasive
    that every State Supreme Court that had considered
    similar fundraising provisions—along with several Fed-
    eral Courts of Appeals—had upheld the laws against First
    Amendment challenges. Id., at 386. Florida’s chief justice
    and one associate justice dissented. Id., at 389. We
    granted certiorari. 573 U. S. ___ (2014).
                                  II
       The First Amendment provides that Congress “shall
    make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” The
    Fourteenth Amendment makes that prohibition applicable
    to the States. Stromberg v. California, 
    283 U.S. 359
    , 368
    (1931). The parties agree that Canon 7C(1) restricts
    Yulee’s speech on the basis of its content by prohibiting
    her from soliciting contributions to her election campaign.
    The parties disagree, however, about the level of scrutiny
    that should govern our review.
       We have applied exacting scrutiny to laws restricting
    the solicitation of contributions to charity, upholding the
    speech limitations only if they are narrowly tailored to
    serve a compelling interest. See Riley v. National Federa­
    tion of Blind of N. C., Inc., 
    487 U.S. 781
    , 798 (1988); id.,
    at 810 (Rehnquist, C. J., dissenting). As we have ex-
    plained, noncommercial solicitation “is characteristically
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)           7
    
                         Opinion
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                               of R  the Court
                                           , C. J.
    
    intertwined with informative and perhaps persuasive
    speech.” Id., at 796 (majority opinion) (quoting Schaum­
    burg v. Citizens for Better Environment, 
    444 U.S. 620
    , 632
    (1980)). Applying a lesser standard of scrutiny to such
    speech would threaten “the exercise of rights so vital to
    the maintenance of democratic institutions.” Schneider v.
    State (Town of Irvington), 
    308 U.S. 147
    , 161 (1939).
       The principles underlying these charitable solicitation
    cases apply with even greater force here. Before asking
    for money in her fundraising letter, Yulee explained her
    fitness for the bench and expressed her vision for the
    judiciary. Her stated purpose for the solicitation was to
    get her “message out to the public.” App. to Pet. for Cert.
    32a. As we have long recognized, speech about public
    issues and the qualifications of candidates for elected
    office commands the highest level of First Amendment
    protection. See Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic
    Central Comm., 
    489 U.S. 214
    , 223 (1989). Indeed, in our
    only prior case concerning speech restrictions on a candi-
    date for judicial office, this Court and both parties as-
    sumed that strict scrutiny applied. Republican Party of
    Minn. v. White, 
    536 U.S. 765
    , 774 (2002).
       Although the Florida Supreme Court upheld Canon
    7C(1) under strict scrutiny, the Florida Bar and several
    amici contend that we should subject the Canon to a more
    permissive standard: that it be “closely drawn” to match a
    “sufficiently important interest.” Buckley v. Valeo, 
    424 U.S. 1
    , 25 (1976) (per curiam). The “closely drawn”
    standard is a poor fit for this case. The Court adopted
    that test in Buckley to address a claim that campaign
    contribution limits violated a contributor’s “freedom of
    political association.” Id., at 24–25. Here, Yulee does not
    claim that Canon 7C(1) violates her right to free associa-
    tion; she argues that it violates her right to free speech.
    And the Florida Bar can hardly dispute that the Canon
    infringes Yulee’s freedom to discuss candidates and public
    8             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    issues—namely, herself and her qualifications to be a
    judge. The Bar’s call to import the “closely drawn” test
    from the contribution limit context into a case about solici-
    tation therefore has little avail.
      As several of the Bar’s amici note, we applied the “closely
    drawn” test to solicitation restrictions in McConnell v.
    Federal Election Comm’n, 
    540 U.S. 93
    , 136 (2003), over-
    ruled in part by Citizens United v. Federal Election
    Comm’n, 
    558 U.S. 310
     (2010). But the Court in that case
    determined that the solicitation restrictions operated
    primarily to prevent circumvention of the contribution
    limits, which were the subject of the “closely drawn” test
    in the first place. 540 U. S., at 138–139. McConnell offers
    no help to the Bar here, because Florida did not adopt
    Canon 7C(1) as an anticircumvention measure.
      In sum, we hold today what we assumed in White: A
    State may restrict the speech of a judicial candidate only if
    the restriction is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling
    interest.
                                 III
      The Florida Bar faces a demanding task in defending
    Canon 7C(1) against Yulee’s First Amendment challenge.
    We have emphasized that “it is the rare case” in which a
    State demonstrates that a speech restriction is narrowly
    tailored to serve a compelling interest. Burson v. Free­
    man, 
    504 U.S. 191
    , 211 (1992) (plurality opinion). But
    those cases do arise. See ibid.; Holder v. Humanitarian
    Law Project, 
    561 U.S. 1
    , 25–39 (2010); McConnell, 540
    U. S., at 314 (opinion of KENNEDY, J.); cf. Adarand Con­
    structors, Inc. v. Peña, 
    515 U.S. 200
    , 237 (1995) (“we wish
    to dispel the notion that strict scrutiny is ‘strict in theory,
    but fatal in fact’ ”). Here, Canon 7C(1) advances the
    State’s compelling interest in preserving public confidence
    in the integrity of the judiciary, and it does so through
    means narrowly tailored to avoid unnecessarily abridging
                      Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)            9
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    speech. This is therefore one of the rare cases in which a
    speech restriction withstands strict scrutiny.
                                  A
      The Florida Supreme Court adopted Canon 7C(1) to
    promote the State’s interests in “protecting the integrity of
    the judiciary” and “maintaining the public’s confidence in
    an impartial judiciary.” 
    138 So. 3d
    , at 385. The way the
    Canon advances those interests is intuitive: Judges,
    charged with exercising strict neutrality and independ-
    ence, cannot supplicate campaign donors without dimin-
    ishing public confidence in judicial integrity. This princi-
    ple dates back at least eight centuries to Magna Carta,
    which proclaimed, “To no one will we sell, to no one will
    we refuse or delay, right or justice.” Cl. 40 (1215), in W.
    McKechnie, Magna Carta, A Commentary on the Great
    Charter of King John 395 (2d ed. 1914). The same concept
    underlies the common law judicial oath, which binds a
    judge to “do right to all manner of people . . . without fear
    or favour, affection or ill-will,” 10 Encyclopaedia of the
    Laws of England 105 (2d ed. 1908), and the oath that each
    of us took to “administer justice without respect to per-
    sons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich,” 
    28 U.S. C
    . §453. Simply put, Florida and most other States
    have concluded that the public may lack confidence in a
    judge’s ability to administer justice without fear or favor if
    he comes to office by asking for favors.
      The interest served by Canon 7C(1) has firm support in
    our precedents. We have recognized the “vital state inter-
    est” in safeguarding “public confidence in the fairness and
    integrity of the nation’s elected judges.” Caperton v. A. T.
    Massey Coal Co., 
    556 U.S. 868
    , 889 (2009) (internal quo-
    tation marks omitted). The importance of public confi-
    dence in the integrity of judges stems from the place of
    the judiciary in the government. Unlike the executive or the
    legislature, the judiciary “has no influence over either the
    10            WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    sword or the purse; . . . neither force nor will but merely
    judgment.” The Federalist No. 78, p. 465 (C. Rossiter ed.
    1961) (A. Hamilton) (capitalization altered). The judici-
    ary’s authority therefore depends in large measure on the
    public’s willingness to respect and follow its decisions. As
    Justice Frankfurter once put it for the Court, “justice must
    satisfy the appearance of justice.” Offutt v. United States,
    
    348 U.S. 11
    , 14 (1954). It follows that public perception of
    judicial integrity is “a state interest of the highest order.”
    Caperton, 556 U. S., at 889 (quoting White, 536 U. S., at
    793 (KENNEDY, J., concurring)).
       The principal dissent observes that bans on judicial
    candidate solicitation lack a lengthy historical pedigree.
    Post, at 1–2 (opinion of SCALIA, J.). We do not dispute that
    fact, but it has no relevance here. As the precedent cited
    by the principal dissent demonstrates, a history and tradi-
    tion of regulation are important factors in determining
    whether to recognize “new categories of unprotected
    speech.” Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Assn., 
    564 U.S.
    ___, ___ (2011) (slip op., at 3); see post, at 1. But
    nobody argues that solicitation of campaign funds by
    judicial candidates is a category of unprotected speech. As
    explained above, the First Amendment fully applies to
    Yulee’s speech. The question is instead whether that
    Amendment permits the particular regulation of speech at
    issue here.
       The parties devote considerable attention to our cases
    analyzing campaign finance restrictions in political elec-
    tions. But a State’s interest in preserving public confi-
    dence in the integrity of its judiciary extends beyond its
    interest in preventing the appearance of corruption in
    legislative and executive elections. As we explained in
    White, States may regulate judicial elections differently
    than they regulate political elections, because the role of
    judges differs from the role of politicians. 536 U. S., at
    783; id., at 805 (GINSBURG, J., dissenting). Politicians are
                      Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)           11
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    expected to be appropriately responsive to the preferences
    of their supporters. Indeed, such “responsiveness is key to
    the very concept of self-governance through elected offi-
    cials.” McCutcheon v. Federal Election Comm’n, 
    572 U.S.
    ___, ___ (2014) (plurality opinion) (slip op., at 39). The
    same is not true of judges. In deciding cases, a judge is
    not to follow the preferences of his supporters, or provide
    any special consideration to his campaign donors. A judge
    instead must “observe the utmost fairness,” striving to be
    “perfectly and completely independent, with nothing to
    influence or controul him but God and his conscience.”
    Address of John Marshall, in Proceedings and Debates of
    the Virginia State Convention of 1829–1830, p. 616 (1830).
    As in White, therefore, our precedents applying the First
    Amendment to political elections have little bearing on the
    issues here.
       The vast majority of elected judges in States that allow
    personal solicitation serve with fairness and honor. But
    “[e]ven if judges were able to refrain from favoring donors,
    the mere possibility that judges’ decisions may be moti-
    vated by the desire to repay campaign contributions is
    likely to undermine the public’s confidence in the judiciary.”
    White, 536 U. S., at 790 (O’Connor, J., concurring). In the
    eyes of the public, a judge’s personal solicitation could
    result (even unknowingly) in “a possible temptation . . .
    which might lead him not to hold the balance nice, clear
    and true.” Tumey v. Ohio, 
    273 U.S. 510
    , 532 (1927). That
    risk is especially pronounced because most donors are
    lawyers and litigants who may appear before the judge
    they are supporting. See A. Bannon, E. Velasco, L. Casey,
    & L. Reagan, The New Politics of Judicial Elections: 2011–
    12, p. 15 (2013).
       The concept of public confidence in judicial integrity
    does not easily reduce to precise definition, nor does it
    lend itself to proof by documentary record. But no one
    denies that it is genuine and compelling. In short, it is the
    12            WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    regrettable but unavoidable appearance that judges who
    personally ask for money may diminish their integrity
    that prompted the Supreme Court of Florida and most
    other States to sever the direct link between judicial can-
    didates and campaign contributors. As the Supreme
    Court of Oregon explained, “the spectacle of lawyers or
    potential litigants directly handing over money to judicial
    candidates should be avoided if the public is to have faith
    in the impartiality of its judiciary.” In re Fadeley, 310
    Ore. 548, 565, 
    802 P.2d 31
    , 41 (1990). Moreover, personal
    solicitation by a judicial candidate “inevitably places the
    solicited individuals in a position to fear retaliation if they
    fail to financially support that candidate.” Simes, 368
    Ark., at 585, 
    247 S.W. 3d
    , at 882. Potential litigants then
    fear that “the integrity of the judicial system has been
    compromised, forcing them to search for an attorney in
    part based upon the criteria of which attorneys have made
    the obligatory contributions.” Ibid. A State’s decision to
    elect its judges does not require it to tolerate these risks.
    The Florida Bar’s interest is compelling.
                                 B
      Yulee acknowledges the State’s compelling interest in
    judicial integrity. She argues, however, that the Canon’s
    failure to restrict other speech equally damaging to judi-
    cial integrity and its appearance undercuts the Bar’s
    position. In particular, she notes that Canon 7C(1) allows
    a judge’s campaign committee to solicit money, which
    arguably reduces public confidence in the integrity of the
    judiciary just as much as a judge’s personal solicitation.
    Yulee also points out that Florida permits judicial candi-
    dates to write thank you notes to campaign donors, which
    ensures that candidates know who contributes and who
    does not.
      It is always somewhat counterintuitive to argue that a
    law violates the First Amendment by abridging too little
                      Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)            13
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    speech. We have recognized, however, that underinclu-
    siveness can raise “doubts about whether the government
    is in fact pursuing the interest it invokes, rather than
    disfavoring a particular speaker or viewpoint.” Brown,
    564 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 14). In a textbook illustration
    of that principle, we invalidated a city’s ban on ritual
    animal sacrifices because the city failed to regulate vast
    swaths of conduct that similarly diminished its asserted
    interests in public health and animal welfare. Church of
    Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 
    508 U.S. 520
    , 543–
    547 (1993).
      Underinclusiveness can also reveal that a law does not
    actually advance a compelling interest. For example, a
    State’s decision to prohibit newspapers, but not electronic
    media, from releasing the names of juvenile defendants
    suggested that the law did not advance its stated purpose
    of protecting youth privacy. Smith v. Daily Mail Publish­
    ing Co., 
    443 U.S. 97
    , 104–105 (1979).
      Although a law’s underinclusivity raises a red flag, the
    First Amendment imposes no freestanding “underinclu-
    siveness limitation.” R. A. V. v. St. Paul, 
    505 U.S. 377
    ,
    387 (1992) (internal quotation marks omitted). A State
    need not address all aspects of a problem in one fell swoop;
    policymakers may focus on their most pressing concerns.
    We have accordingly upheld laws—even under strict
    scrutiny—that conceivably could have restricted even
    greater amounts of speech in service of their stated inter-
    ests. Burson, 504 U. S., at 207; see McConnell, 540 U. S.,
    at 207–208; Metromedia, Inc. v. San Diego, 
    453 U.S. 490
    ,
    511–512 (1981) (plurality opinion); Buckley, 424 U. S., at
    105.
      Viewed in light of these principles, Canon 7C(1) raises
    no fatal underinclusivity concerns. The solicitation ban
    aims squarely at the conduct most likely to undermine
    public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary: personal
    requests for money by judges and judicial candidates. The
    14           WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    Canon applies evenhandedly to all judges and judicial
    candidates, regardless of their viewpoint or chosen means
    of solicitation. And unlike some laws that we have found
    impermissibly underinclusive, Canon 7C(1) is not riddled
    with exceptions. See City of Ladue v. Gilleo, 
    512 U.S. 43
    ,
    52–53 (1994). Indeed, the Canon contains zero exceptions
    to its ban on personal solicitation.
       Yulee relies heavily on the provision of Canon 7C(1) that
    allows solicitation by a candidate’s campaign committee.
    But Florida, along with most other States, has reasonably
    concluded that solicitation by the candidate personally
    creates a categorically different and more severe risk of
    undermining public confidence than does solicitation by a
    campaign committee. The identity of the solicitor matters,
    as anyone who has encountered a Girl Scout selling cook-
    ies outside a grocery store can attest. When the judicial
    candidate himself asks for money, the stakes are higher
    for all involved. The candidate has personally invested his
    time and effort in the fundraising appeal; he has placed
    his name and reputation behind the request. The solicited
    individual knows that, and also knows that the solicitor
    might be in a position to singlehandedly make decisions of
    great weight: The same person who signed the fundraising
    letter might one day sign the judgment. This dynamic
    inevitably creates pressure for the recipient to comply, and
    it does so in a way that solicitation by a third party does
    not. Just as inevitably, the personal involvement of the
    candidate in the solicitation creates the public appearance
    that the candidate will remember who says yes, and who
    says no.
       In short, personal solicitation by judicial candidates
    implicates a different problem than solicitation by cam-
    paign committees. However similar the two solicitations
    may be in substance, a State may conclude that they
    present markedly different appearances to the public.
    Florida’s choice to allow solicitation by campaign commit-
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)          15
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    tees does not undermine its decision to ban solicitation by
    judges.
       Likewise, allowing judicial candidates to write thank
    you notes to campaign donors does not detract from the
    State’s interest in preserving public confidence in the
    integrity of the judiciary. Yulee argues that permitting
    thank you notes heightens the likelihood of actual bias by
    ensuring that judicial candidates know who supported
    their campaigns, and ensuring that the supporter knows
    that the candidate knows. Maybe so. But the State’s
    compelling interest is implicated most directly by the
    candidate’s personal solicitation itself. A failure to ban
    thank you notes for contributions not solicited by the
    candidate does not undercut the Bar’s rationale.
       In addition, the State has a good reason for allowing
    candidates to write thank you notes and raise money
    through committees. These accommodations reflect Flor-
    ida’s effort to respect the First Amendment interests of
    candidates and their contributors—to resolve the “funda-
    mental tension between the ideal character of the judicial
    office and the real world of electoral politics.” Chisom v.
    Roemer, 
    501 U.S. 380
    , 400 (1991). They belie the princi-
    pal dissent’s suggestion that Canon 7C(1) reflects general
    “hostility toward judicial campaigning” and has “nothing
    to do with the appearances created by judges’ asking for
    money.” Post, at 11. Nothing?
       The principal dissent also suggests that Canon 7C(1) is
    underinclusive because Florida does not ban judicial can-
    didates from asking individuals for personal gifts or loans.
    Post, at 10. But Florida law treats a personal “gift” or
    “loan” as a campaign contribution if the donor makes it
    “for the purpose of influencing the results of an election,”
    Fla. Stat. §106.011(5)(a), and Florida’s Judicial Qualifica-
    tions Commission has determined that a judicial candi-
    date violates Canon 7C(1) by personally soliciting such a
    loan. See In re Turner, 
    76 So. 3d 898
    , 901–902 (Fla. 2011).
    16            WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                          Opinion of the Court
    
    In any event, Florida can ban personal solicitation of
    campaign funds by judicial candidates without making
    them obey a comprehensive code to leading an ethical life.
    Underinclusivity creates a First Amendment concern
    when the State regulates one aspect of a problem while
    declining to regulate a different aspect of the problem that
    affects its stated interest in a comparable way. See Flor-
    ida Star v. B. J. F., 
    491 U.S. 524
    , 540 (1989). The princi-
    pal dissent offers no basis to conclude that judicial candi-
    dates are in the habit of soliciting personal loans, football
    tickets, or anything of the sort. Post, at 10. Even under
    strict scrutiny, “[t]he First Amendment does not require
    States to regulate for problems that do not exist.” Burson,
    504 U. S., at 207 (State’s regulation of political solicitation
    around a polling place, but not charitable or commercial
    solicitation, was not fatally underinclusive under strict
    scrutiny).
       Taken to its logical conclusion, the position advanced by
    Yulee and the principal dissent is that Florida may ban
    the solicitation of funds by judicial candidates only if the
    State bans all solicitation of funds in judicial elections.
    The First Amendment does not put a State to that all-or-
    nothing choice. We will not punish Florida for leaving
    open more, rather than fewer, avenues of expression,
    especially when there is no indication that the selective
    restriction of speech reflects a pretextual motive.
                                C
      After arguing that Canon 7C(1) violates the First
    Amendment because it restricts too little speech, Yulee
    argues that the Canon violates the First Amendment
    because it restricts too much. In her view, the Canon is
    not narrowly tailored to advance the State’s compelling
    interest through the least restrictive means. See United
    States v. Playboy Entertainment Group, Inc., 
    529 U.S. 803
    , 813 (2000).
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)          17
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
       By any measure, Canon 7C(1) restricts a narrow slice of
    speech. A reader of JUSTICE KENNEDY’s dissent could be
    forgiven for concluding that the Court has just upheld a
    latter-day version of the Alien and Sedition Acts, approv-
    ing “state censorship” that “locks the First Amendment
    out,” imposes a “gag” on candidates, and inflicts “dead
    weight” on a “silenced” public debate. Post, at 2–4. But in
    reality, Canon 7C(1) leaves judicial candidates free to
    discuss any issue with any person at any time. Candi-
    dates can write letters, give speeches, and put up bill-
    boards. They can contact potential supporters in person,
    on the phone, or online. They can promote their cam-
    paigns on radio, television, or other media. They cannot
    say, “Please give me money.” They can, however, direct
    their campaign committees to do so. Whatever else may
    be said of the Canon, it is surely not a “wildly dispropor-
    tionate restriction upon speech.” Post, at 1 (SCALIA, J.,
    dissenting).
       Indeed, Yulee concedes—and the principal dissent
    seems to agree, post, at 8—that Canon 7C(1) is valid in
    numerous applications. Yulee acknowledges that Florida
    can prohibit judges from soliciting money from lawyers
    and litigants appearing before them. Reply Brief 18. In
    addition, she says the State “might” be able to ban “direct
    one-to-one solicitation of lawyers and individuals or busi-
    nesses that could reasonably appear in the court for which
    the individual is a candidate.” Ibid. She also suggests
    that the Bar could forbid “in person” solicitation by judi-
    cial candidates. Tr. of Oral Arg. 7; cf. Ohralik v. Ohio
    State Bar Assn., 
    436 U.S. 447
     (1978) (permitting State to
    ban in person solicitation of clients by lawyers). But Yulee
    argues that the Canon cannot constitutionally be applied
    to her chosen form of solicitation: a letter posted online
    and distributed via mass mailing. No one, she contends,
    will lose confidence in the integrity of the judiciary based
    on personal solicitation to such a broad audience.
    18            WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
       This argument misperceives the breadth of the compel-
    ling interest that underlies Canon 7C(1). Florida has
    reasonably determined that personal appeals for money by
    a judicial candidate inherently create an appearance of
    impropriety that may cause the public to lose confidence in
    the integrity of the judiciary. That interest may be impli-
    cated to varying degrees in particular contexts, but the
    interest remains whenever the public perceives the judge
    personally asking for money.
       Moreover, the lines Yulee asks us to draw are unwork-
    able. Even under her theory of the case, a mass mailing
    would create an appearance of impropriety if addressed to
    a list of all lawyers and litigants with pending cases. So
    would a speech soliciting contributions from the 100 most
    frequently appearing attorneys in the jurisdiction. Yulee
    says she might accept a ban on one-to-one solicitation, but
    is the public impression really any different if a judicial
    candidate tries to buttonhole not one prospective donor
    but two at a time? Ten? Yulee also agrees that in person
    solicitation creates a problem. But would the public’s
    concern recede if the request for money came in a phone
    call or a text message?
       We decline to wade into this swamp. The First Amend-
    ment requires that Canon 7C(1) be narrowly tailored, not
    that it be “perfectly tailored.” Burson, 504 U. S., at 209.
    The impossibility of perfect tailoring is especially apparent
    when the State’s compelling interest is as intangible as
    public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary. Yulee is
    of course correct that some personal solicitations raise
    greater concerns than others. A judge who passes the hat
    in the courthouse creates a more serious appearance of
    impropriety than does a judicial candidate who makes a
    tasteful plea for support on the radio. But most problems
    arise in greater and lesser gradations, and the First
    Amendment does not confine a State to addressing evils in
    their most acute form. See id., at 210. Here, Florida has
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)           19
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    concluded that all personal solicitations by judicial candi-
    dates create a public appearance that undermines confi-
    dence in the integrity of the judiciary; banning all personal
    solicitations by judicial candidates is narrowly tailored to
    address that concern.
       In considering Yulee’s tailoring arguments, we are
    mindful that most States with elected judges have deter-
    mined that drawing a line between personal solicitation by
    candidates and solicitation by committees is necessary to
    preserve public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.
    These considered judgments deserve our respect, especially
    because they reflect sensitive choices by States in an area
    central to their own governance—how to select those who
    “sit as their judges.” Gregory v. Ashcroft, 
    501 U.S. 452
    ,
    460 (1991).
       Finally, Yulee contends that Florida can accomplish its
    compelling interest through the less restrictive means of
    recusal rules and campaign contribution limits. We dis-
    agree. A rule requiring judges to recuse themselves from
    every case in which a lawyer or litigant made a campaign
    contribution would disable many jurisdictions. And a
    flood of postelection recusal motions could “erode public
    confidence in judicial impartiality” and thereby exacerbate
    the very appearance problem the State is trying to solve.
    Caperton, 556 U. S., at 891 (ROBERTS, C. J., dissenting).
    Moreover, the rule that Yulee envisions could create a
    perverse incentive for litigants to make campaign contri-
    butions to judges solely as a means to trigger their later
    recusal—a form of peremptory strike against a judge that
    would enable transparent forum shopping.
       As for campaign contribution limits, Florida already
    applies them to judicial elections. Fla. Stat. §106.08(1)(a).
    A State may decide that the threat to public confidence
    created by personal solicitation exists apart from the
    amount of money that a judge or judicial candidate seeks.
    Even if Florida decreased its contribution limit, the ap-
    20            WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    pearance that judges who personally solicit funds might
    improperly favor their campaign donors would remain.
    Although the Court has held that contribution limits
    advance the interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption
    and its appearance in political elections, we have never
    held that adopting contribution limits precludes a State
    from pursuing its compelling interests through additional
    means. And in any event, a State has compelling interests
    in regulating judicial elections that extend beyond its
    interests in regulating political elections, because judges
    are not politicians.
       In sum, because Canon 7C(1) is narrowly tailored to
    serve a compelling government interest, the First
    Amendment poses no obstacle to its enforcement in this
    case. As a result of our decision, Florida may continue to
    prohibit judicial candidates from personally soliciting
    campaign funds, while allowing them to raise money
    through committees and to otherwise communicate their
    electoral messages in practically any way. The principal
    dissent faults us for not answering a slew of broader ques-
    tions, such as whether Florida may cap a judicial candi-
    date’s spending or ban independent expenditures by cor-
    porations. Post, at 8–9. Yulee has not asked these
    questions, and for good reason—they are far afield from
    the narrow regulation actually at issue in this case.
       We likewise have no cause to consider whether the
    citizens of States that elect their judges have decided
    anything about the “oracular sanctity of judges” or whether
    judges are due “a hearty helping of humble pie.” Post,
    at 12. The principal dissent could be right that the deci-
    sion to adopt judicial elections “probably springs,” at least
    in part, from a desire to make judges more accountable to
    the public, ibid., although the history on this matter is
    more complicated.       See J. Shugerman, The People’s
    Courts, at 5 (arguing that States adopted judicial elections
    to increase judicial independence). In any event, it is a
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)          21
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    long way from general notions of judicial accountability to
    the principal dissent’s view, which evokes nothing so much
    as Delacroix’s painting of Liberty leading a determined
    band of citoyens, this time against a robed aristocracy
    scurrying to shore up the ramparts of the judicial castle
    through disingenuous ethical rules. We claim no similar
    insight into the People’s passions, hazard no assertions
    about ulterior motives of those who promulgated Canon
    7C(1), and firmly reject the charge of a deceptive “pose of
    neutrality” on the part of those who uphold it. Post, at 12.
                              *    *     *
       The desirability of judicial elections is a question that
    has sparked disagreement for more than 200 years. Ham-
    ilton believed that appointing judges to positions with life
    tenure constituted “the best expedient which can be de-
    vised in any government to secure a steady, upright, and
    impartial administration of the laws.” The Federalist No.
    78, at 465. Jefferson thought that making judges “de-
    pendent on none but themselves” ran counter to the prin-
    ciple of “a government founded on the public will.” 12 The
    Works of Thomas Jefferson 5 (P. Ford ed. 1905). The
    federal courts reflect the view of Hamilton; most States
    have sided with Jefferson. Both methods have given our
    Nation jurists of wisdom and rectitude who have devoted
    themselves to maintaining “the public’s respect . . . and a
    reserve of public goodwill, without becoming subservient
    to public opinion.” Rehnquist, Judicial Independence, 38
    U. Rich. L. Rev. 579, 596 (2004).
       It is not our place to resolve this enduring debate. Our
    limited task is to apply the Constitution to the question
    presented in this case. Judicial candidates have a First
    Amendment right to speak in support of their campaigns.
    States have a compelling interest in preserving public
    confidence in their judiciaries. When the State adopts a
    narrowly tailored restriction like the one at issue here,
    22            WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         Opinion of the Court
    
    those principles do not conflict. A State’s decision to elect
    judges does not compel it to compromise public confidence
    in their integrity.
      The judgment of the Florida Supreme Court is
                                                       Affirmed.
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)            1
    
                        BREYER, J., concurring
    
    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
                             _________________
    
                             No. 13–1499
                             _________________
    
    
         LANELL WILLIAMS-YULEE, PETITIONER v.
    
                  THE FLORIDA BAR 
    
        ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF 
    
                           FLORIDA
    
                            [April 29, 2015] 
    
    
      JUSTICE BREYER, concurring.
      As I have previously said, I view this Court’s doctrine
    referring to tiers of scrutiny as guidelines informing our
    approach to the case at hand, not tests to be mechanically
    applied. See, e.g., United States v. Alvarez, 
    567 U.S.
    ___,
    ___ (2012) (BREYER, J., concurring in judgment) (slip op.,
    at 1–3); Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC, 
    528 U.S. 377
    , 400–403 (2000) (BREYER, J., concurring). On
    that understanding, I join the Court’s opinion.
                      Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)            1
    
                         Opinion of GINSBURG, J.
    
    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
                              _________________
    
                              No. 13–1499
                              _________________
    
    
         LANELL WILLIAMS-YULEE, PETITIONER v.
    
                  THE FLORIDA BAR 
    
        ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF 
    
                           FLORIDA
    
                             [April 29, 2015] 
    
    
      JUSTICE GINSBURG, with whom JUSTICE BREYER joins
    as to Part II, concurring in part and concurring in the
    judgment.
                                  I
      I join the Court’s opinion save for Part II. As explained
    in my dissenting opinion in Republican Party of Minnesota
    v. White, 
    536 U.S. 765
    , 803 (2002), I would not apply
    exacting scrutiny to a State’s endeavor sensibly to “differ-
    entiate elections for political offices . . . , from elections
    designed to select those whose office it is to administer
    justice without respect to persons,” id., at 805.
                                   II
       I write separately to reiterate the substantial latitude,
    in my view, States should possess to enact campaign-
    finance rules geared to judicial elections. “Judges,” the
    Court rightly recognizes, “are not politicians,” ante, at 1,
    so “States may regulate judicial elections differently than
    they regulate political elections,” ante, at 10. And because
    “the role of judges differs from the role of politicians,”
    ibid., this Court’s “precedents applying the First Amend-
    ment to political elections [should] have little bearing” on
    elections to judicial office. Ante, at 11.
       The Court’s recent campaign-finance decisions, trained
    on political actors, should not hold sway for judicial elec-
    2             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                        Opinion of GINSBURG, J.
    
    tions. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 
    558 U.S. 310
     (2010), the Court invalidated a campaign-finance
    restriction designed to check the outsized influence of
    monied interests in politics. Addressing the Government’s
    asserted interest in preventing “influence over or access to
    elected officials,” id., at 359, the Court observed that
    “[f ]avoritism and influence” are inevitable “in representa-
    tive politics.” Ibid. (quoting McConnell v. Federal Elec-
    tion Comm’n, 
    540 U.S. 93
    , 297 (KENNEDY, J., concurring
    in judgment in part and dissenting in part); emphasis
    added). A plurality of the Court responded similarly in
    McCutcheon v. Federal Election Comm’n, 
    572 U.S.
    ___
    (2014), when it addressed the prospect that wealthy do-
    nors would have ready access to, and could therefore
    influence, elected policymakers. “[A] central feature of
    democracy,” the plurality maintained, is “that constituents
    support candidates who share their beliefs and interests,
    and candidates who are elected can be expected to be
    responsive to those concerns.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 2).
       For reasons spelled out in the dissenting opinions in
    Citizens United and McCutcheon, I would have upheld the
    legislation there at issue. But even if one agrees with
    those judgments, they are geared to elections for repre-
    sentative posts, and should have “little bearing” on judicial
    elections. Ante, at 11. “Favoritism,” i.e., partiality, if
    inevitable in the political arena, is disqualifying in the
    judiciary’s domain. See Marshall v. Jerrico, Inc., 
    446 U.S. 238
    , 242 (1980) (“The Due Process Clause entitles a person
    to an impartial and disinterested tribunal in both civil and
    criminal cases.”). Unlike politicians, judges are not “ex-
    pected to be responsive to [the] concerns” of constituents.
    McCutcheon, 572 U. S., at ___ (plurality opinion) (slip op.,
    at 2). Instead, “it is the business of judges to be indiffer-
    ent to popularity.” Chisom v. Roemer, 
    501 U.S. 380
    , 401,
    n. 29 (1991) (internal quotation marks omitted).
       States may therefore impose different campaign-finance
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)            3
    
                        Opinion of GINSBURG, J.
    
    rules for judicial elections than for political elections.
    Experience illustrates why States may wish to do so.
    When the political campaign-finance apparatus is applied
    to judicial elections, the distinction of judges from politi-
    cians dims. Donors, who gain audience and influence
    through contributions to political campaigns, anticipate
    that investment in campaigns for judicial office will yield
    similar returns. Elected judges understand this dynamic.
    As Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer put it:
    “Whether they succeed or not,” campaign contributors
    “mean to be buying a vote.” Liptak & Roberts, Campaign
    Cash Mirrors a High Court’s Rulings, N. Y. Times, Oct. 1,
    2006, pp. A1, A22 (internal quotation marks omitted).
       In recent years, moreover, issue-oriented organizations
    and political action committees have spent millions of
    dollars opposing the reelection of judges whose decisions
    do not tow a party line or are alleged to be out of step with
    public opinion. Following the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2009
    invalidation of the State’s same-sex marriage ban, for
    example, national organizations poured money into a
    successful campaign to remove three justices from that
    Court. J. Shugerman, The People’s Courts: Pursuing
    Judicial Independence in America 3 (2012). Attack adver-
    tisements funded by issue or politically driven organiza-
    tions portrayed the justices as political actors; they lam-
    basted the Iowa Supreme Court for “usurp[ing] the will of
    voters.” A. Skaggs, M. da Silva, L. Casey, & C. Hall, The
    New Politics of Judicial Elections 2009–10, p. 9 (C. Hall
    ed. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted).
       Similarly portraying judges as belonging to another
    political branch, huge amounts have been spent on adver-
    tisements opposing retention of judges because they ren-
    dered unpopular decisions in favor of criminal defendants.
    D. Goldberg, S. Samis, E. Bender, & R. Weiss, The New
    Politics of Judicial Elections 2004, pp. 5, 10–11 (J.
    Rutledge ed. 2005) (hereinafter Goldberg). In North Caro-
    4            WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                        Opinion of GINSBURG, J.
    
    lina, for example, in 2014, a political action committee
    aired “a widely condemned TV spot accusing [North Caro-
    lina Supreme Court Justice Robin] Hudson of being ‘soft’
    on child-molesters.” Oliphant, When Judges Go Courting,
    National Journal Magazine, Oct. 18, 2014, p. 28. And in
    West Virginia, as described in Caperton v. A. T. Massey
    Coal Co., 
    556 U.S. 868
    , 873 (2009), coal executive Don
    Blankenship lavishly funded a political action committee
    called “And For The Sake Of The Kids.” That group
    bought advertisements accusing Justice Warren McGraw
    of freeing a “child rapist” and allowing that “rapist” to
    “work as a janitor at a West Virginia school.” Goldberg 4;
    see A. Bannon, E. Velasco, L. Casey, & L. Reagan, The
    New Politics of Judicial Elections 2011–12, p. 22 (L. Kin-
    ney and P. Hardin eds. 2013) (reporting that in 2011 and
    2012, interest-oriented groups were 22 times more likely
    to purchase an “attack” advertisement than were judicial
    candidates themselves).
       Disproportionate spending to influence court judgments
    threatens both the appearance and actuality of judicial
    independence. Numerous studies report that the money
    pressure groups spend on judicial elections “can affect
    judicial decision-making across a broad range of cases.”
    Brief for Professors of Law, Economics, and Political Sci-
    ence as Amici Curiae 14 (hereinafter Professors’ Brief), see
    id., at 5–17; J. Shepherd & M. Kang, Skewed Justice 1
    (2014), available at http://skewedjustice.org (All Internet
    materials as visited Apr. 24, 2015, and included in Clerk
    of Court’s case file) (finding that a recent “explosion in
    spending on television attack advertisements . . . has
    made courts less likely to rule in favor of defendants in
    criminal appeals”).
       How does the electorate perceive outsized spending on
    judicial elections? Multiple surveys over the past 13 years
    indicate that voters overwhelmingly believe direct contri-
    butions to judges’ campaigns have at least “some influ-
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)            5
    
                        Opinion of GINSBURG, J.
    
    ence” on judicial decisionmaking. See Professors’ Brief
    23 (citing polls).      Disquieting as well, in response
    to a recent poll, 87% of voters stated that advertisements
    purchased by interest groups during judicial elections
    can have either “some” or “a great deal of influence” on an
    elected “judge’s later decisions.” Justice at Stake/Brennan
    Center National Poll 3, Question 9 (Oct. 22–24,
    2013) (conducted by 20/20 Insight LLC), available at
    http://www.justiceatstake.org/file.cfm/media/news/toplines
    337_B2D51323DC5D0.pdf.
      “A State’s decision to elect its judges does not require it
    to tolerate these risks.” Ante, at 12. What may be true of
    happy families, L. Tolstoy, Anna Karenina 1 (R. Pevear
    and L. Volokhonsky transls. 2000) (“All happy families are
    alike”), or of roses, G. Stein, Sacred Emily, in Geography
    and Plays 178, 187 (1922) (reprint 1968) (“Rose is a rose is
    a rose is a rose”), does not hold true in elections of every
    kind. States should not be put to the polar choices of
    either equating judicial elections to political elections, or
    else abandoning public participation in the selection of
    judges altogether. Instead, States should have leeway to
    “balance the constitutional interests in judicial integrity
    and free expression within the unique setting of an
    elected judiciary.” White, 536 U. S., at 821 (GINSBURG, J.,
    dissenting).
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)           1
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
                             _________________
    
                             No. 13–1499
                             _________________
    
    
         LANELL WILLIAMS-YULEE, PETITIONER v.
    
                  THE FLORIDA BAR 
    
        ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF 
    
                           FLORIDA
    
                            [April 29, 2015]
    
    
      JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom JUSTICE THOMAS joins,
    dissenting.
      An ethics canon adopted by the Florida Supreme Court
    bans a candidate in a judicial election from asking anyone,
    under any circumstances, for a contribution to his cam-
    paign. Faithful application of our precedents would have
    made short work of this wildly disproportionate restriction
    upon speech. Intent upon upholding the Canon, however,
    the Court flattens one settled First Amendment principle
    after another.
                                   I
      The first axiom of the First Amendment is this: As a
    general rule, the state has no power to ban speech on the
    basis of its content. One need not equate judges with
    politicians to see that this principle does not grow weaker
    merely because the censored speech is a judicial candi-
    date’s request for a campaign contribution. Our cases hold
    that speech enjoys the full protection of the First Amend-
    ment unless a widespread and longstanding tradition
    ratifies its regulation. Brown v. Entertainment Merchants
    Assn., 
    564 U.S.
    ___, ___ (2011) (slip op., at 3). No such
    tradition looms here. Georgia became the first State to
    elect its judges in 1812, and judicial elections had spread
    to a large majority of the States by the time of the Civil
    2             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    War. Republican Party of Minn. v. White, 
    536 U.S. 765
    ,
    785 (2002). Yet there appears to have been no regulation
    of judicial candidates’ speech throughout the 19th and
    early 20th centuries. Ibid. The American Bar Association
    first proposed ethics rules concerning speech of judicial
    candidates in 1924, but these rules did not achieve wide-
    spread adoption until after the Second World War. Id., at
    786.
       Rules against soliciting campaign contributions arrived
    more recently still. The ABA first proposed a canon advis-
    ing against it in 1972, and a canon prohibiting it only in
    1990. See Brief for American Bar Association as Amicus
    Curiae 2–4. Even now, 9 of the 39 States that elect judges
    allow judicial candidates to ask for campaign contribu-
    tions. See id., at 4. In the absence of any long-settled
    custom about judicial candidates’ speech in general or
    their solicitations in particular, we have no basis for relax-
    ing the rules that normally apply to laws that suppress
    speech because of content.
       One likewise need not equate judges with politicians to
    see that the electoral setting calls for all the more vigi-
    lance in ensuring observance of the First Amendment.
    When a candidate asks someone for a campaign contribu-
    tion, he tends (as the principal opinion acknowledges) also
    to talk about his qualifications for office and his views on
    public issues. Ante, at 6–7 (plurality opinion). This ex-
    pression lies at the heart of what the First Amendment is
    meant to protect. In addition, banning candidates from
    asking for money personally “favors some candidates over
    others—incumbent judges (who benefit from their current
    status) over non-judicial candidates, the well-to-do (who
    may not need to raise any money at all) over lower-income
    candidates, and the well-connected (who have an army of
    potential fundraisers) over outsiders.” Carey v. Wolnitzek,
    
    614 F.3d 189
    , 204 (CA6 2010). This danger of legislated
    (or judicially imposed) favoritism is the very reason the
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)            3
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    First Amendment exists.
       Because Canon 7C(1) restricts fully protected speech on
    the basis of content, it presumptively violates the First
    Amendment. We may uphold it only if the State meets its
    burden of showing that the Canon survives strict scru-
    tiny—that is to say, only if it shows that the Canon is nar-
    rowly tailored to serve a compelling interest. I do not for a
    moment question the Court’s conclusion that States have
    different compelling interests when regulating judicial
    elections than when regulating political ones. Unlike a
    legislator, a judge must be impartial—without bias for or
    against any party or attorney who comes before him. I
    accept for the sake of argument that States have a compel-
    ling interest in ensuring that its judges are seen to be
    impartial. I will likewise assume that a judicial candi-
    date’s request to a litigant or attorney presents a danger
    of coercion that a political candidate’s request to a con-
    stituent does not. But Canon 7C(1) does not narrowly
    target concerns about impartiality or its appearance; it ap-
    plies even when the person asked for a financial contribu-
    tion has no chance of ever appearing in the candidate’s
    court. And Florida does not invoke concerns about coer-
    cion, presumably because the Canon bans solicitations re-
    gardless of whether their object is a lawyer, litigant, or
    other person vulnerable to judicial pressure. So Canon
    7C(1) fails exacting scrutiny and infringes the First
    Amendment.       This case should have been just that
    straightforward.
                                  II
      The Court concludes that Florida may prohibit personal
    solicitations by judicial candidates as a means of preserv-
    ing “public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.”
    Ante, at 8. It purports to reach this destination by
    applying strict scrutiny, but it would be more accurate
    to say that it does so by applying the appearance of strict
    4            WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    scrutiny.
                                  A
       The first sign that mischief is afoot comes when the
    Court describes Florida’s compelling interest. The State
    must first identify its objective with precision before one
    can tell whether that interest is compelling and whether
    the speech restriction narrowly targets it. In White, for
    example, the Court did not allow a State to invoke hazy
    concerns about judicial impartiality in justification of an
    ethics rule against judicial candidates’ announcing their
    positions on legal issues. 536 U. S., at 775. The Court
    instead separately analyzed the State’s concerns about
    judges’ bias against parties, preconceptions on legal is-
    sues, and openmindedness, and explained why each con-
    cern (and each for a different reason) did not suffice to
    sustain the rule. Id., at 775–780.
       In stark contrast to White, the Court today relies on
    Florida’s invocation of an ill-defined interest in “public
    confidence in judicial integrity.” The Court at first sug-
    gests that “judicial integrity” involves the “ability to ad-
    minister justice without fear or favor.” Ante, at 9. As its
    opinion unfolds, however, today’s concept of judicial integ-
    rity turns out to be “a mere thing of wax in the hands of
    the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any
    form they please.” 12 The Works of Thomas Jefferson 137
    (P. Ford ed. 1905). When the Court explains how solicita-
    tion undermines confidence in judicial integrity, integrity
    starts to sound like saintliness. It involves independence
    from any “ ‘possible temptation’ ” that “ ‘might lead’ ” the
    judge, “even unknowingly,” to favor one party. Ante, at 11
    (emphasis added). When the Court turns to distinguish-
    ing in-person solicitation from solicitation by proxy, the
    any-possible-temptation standard no longer helps and
    thus drops out. The critical factors instead become the
    “pressure” a listener feels during a solicitation and the
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)            5
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    “appearance that the candidate will remember who says
    yes, and who says no.” Ante, at 14. But when it comes
    time to explain Florida’s decision to allow candidates to
    write thank-you notes, the “appearance that the candidate
    . . . remember[s] who says yes” gets nary a mention. Ante,
    at 14–15. And when the Court confronts Florida’s decision
    to prohibit mass-mailed solicitations, concern about pres-
    sure fades away. Ante, at 18. More outrageous still, the
    Court at times molds the interest in the perception that
    judges have integrity into an interest in the perception
    that judges do not solicit—for example when it says, “all
    personal solicitations by judicial candidates create a public
    appearance that undermines confidence in the integrity of
    the judiciary; banning all personal solicitations by judicial
    candidates is narrowly tailored to address that concern.”
    Ante, at 19. This is not strict scrutiny; it is sleight of
    hand.
                                  B
      The Court’s twistifications have not come to an end;
    indeed, they are just beginning. In order to uphold Canon
    7C(1) under strict scrutiny, Florida must do more than
    point to a vital public objective brooding overhead. The
    State must also meet a difficult burden of demonstrating
    that the speech restriction substantially advances the
    claimed objective. The State “bears the risk of uncertainty,”
    so “ambiguous proof will not suffice.” Entertainment
    Merchants, 564 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 12). In an arrest-
    ing illustration, this Court held that a law punishing lies
    about winning military decorations like the Congressional
    Medal of Honor failed exacting scrutiny, because the
    Government could not satisfy its “heavy burden” of prov-
    ing that “the public’s general perception of military
    awards is diluted by false claims.” United States v. Alva-
    rez, 
    567 U.S.
    ___, ___ (2012) (plurality opinion) (slip op.,
    at 14).
    6             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
        Now that we have a case about the public’s perception of
    judicial honor rather than its perception of military hon-
    ors, the Justices of this Court change the rules. The Court
    announces, on the basis of its “intuiti[on],” that allowing
    personal solicitations will make litigants worry that
    “ ‘judges’ decisions may be motivated by the desire to repay
    campaign contributions.’ ” Ante, at 11. But this case is not
    about whether Yulee has the right to receive campaign
    contributions. It is about whether she has the right to ask
    for campaign contributions that Florida’s statutory law
    already allows her to receive. Florida bears the burden of
    showing that banning requests for lawful contributions
    will improve public confidence in judges—not just a little
    bit, but significantly, because “the Government does not
    have a compelling interest in each marginal percentage
    point by which its goals are advanced.” Entertainment
    Merchants, supra, at ___, n. 9 (slip op., at 16, n. 9).
      Neither the Court nor the State identifies the slightest
    evidence that banning requests for contributions will
    substantially improve public trust in judges. Nor does
    common sense make this happy forecast obvious. The
    concept of judicial integrity “dates back at least eight
    centuries,” ante, at 9, and judicial elections in America
    date back more than two centuries, supra, at 1—but rules
    against personal solicitations date back only to 1972,
    supra, at 2. The peaceful coexistence of judicial elections
    and personal solicitations for most of our history calls into
    doubt any claim that allowing personal solicitations would
    imperil public faith in judges. Many States allow judicial
    candidates to ask for contributions even today, but nobody
    suggests that public confidence in judges fares worse in
    these jurisdictions than elsewhere. And in any event, if
    candidates’ appeals for money are “ ‘characteristically
    intertwined’ ” with discussion of qualifications and views
    on public issues, ante, at 7 (plurality opinion), how can the
    Court be so sure that the public will regard them as im-
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)           7
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    proprieties rather than as legitimate instances of cam-
    paigning? In the final analysis, Florida comes nowhere
    near making the convincing demonstration required by
    our cases that the speech restriction in this case substan-
    tially advances its objective.
                                   C
       But suppose we play along with the premise that pro-
    hibiting solicitations will significantly improve the public
    reputation of judges. Even then, Florida must show that
    the ban restricts no more speech than necessary to achieve
    the objective. See Sable Communications of Cal., Inc. v.
    FCC, 
    492 U.S. 115
    , 126 (1989).
       Canon 7C(1) falls miles short of satisfying this require-
    ment. The Court seems to accept Florida’s claim that
    solicitations erode public confidence by creating the per-
    ception that judges are selling justice to lawyers and
    litigants. Ante, at 9. Yet the Canon prohibits candidates
    from asking for money from anybody—even from someone
    who is neither lawyer nor litigant, even from someone who
    (because of recusal rules) cannot possibly appear before
    the candidate as lawyer or litigant. Yulee thus may not
    call up an old friend, a cousin, or even her parents to ask
    for a donation to her campaign. The State has not come
    up with a plausible explanation of how soliciting someone
    who has no chance of appearing in the candidate’s court
    will diminish public confidence in judges.
       No less important, Canon 7C(1) bans candidates from
    asking for contributions even in messages that do not
    target any listener in particular—mass-mailed letters,
    flyers posted on telephone poles, speeches to large gather-
    ings, and Web sites addressed to the general public. Mes-
    sages like these do not share the features that lead the
    Court to pronounce personal solicitations a menace to
    public confidence in the judiciary. Consider online solici-
    tations. They avoid “ ‘the spectacle of lawyers or potential
    8             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    litigants directly handing over money to judicial candi-
    dates,’ ” ante, at 12. People who come across online solici-
    tations do not feel “pressure” to comply with the request,
    ante, at 14. Nor does the candidate’s signature on the
    online solicitation suggest “that the candidate will re-
    member who says yes, and who says no,” ibid. Yet Canon
    7C(1) prohibits these and similar solicitations anyway.
    This tailoring is as narrow as the Court’s scrutiny is strict.
       Perhaps sensing the fragility of the initial claim that all
    solicitations threaten public confidence in judges, the
    Court argues that “the lines Yulee asks [it] to draw are
    unworkable.” Ante, at 18. That is a difficulty of the
    Court’s own imagination. In reality, the Court could have
    chosen from a whole spectrum of workable rules. It could
    have held that States may regulate no more than solicita-
    tion of participants in pending cases, or solicitation of
    people who are likely to appear in the candidate’s court, or
    even solicitation of any lawyer or litigant. And it could
    have ruled that candidates have the right to make fund-
    raising appeals that are not directed to any particular
    listener (like requests in mass-mailed letters), or at least
    fundraising appeals plainly directed to the general public
    (like requests placed online). The Supreme Court of Flor-
    ida has made similar accommodations in other settings. It
    allows sitting judges to solicit memberships in civic organ-
    izations if (among other things) the solicitee is not “likely
    ever to appear before the court on which the judge serves.”
    Code of Judicial Conduct for the State of Florida 23 (2014)
    (Judicial Conduct Code). And it allows sitting judges to
    accept gifts if (among other things) “the donor is not a
    party or other person . . . whose interests have come or are
    likely to come before the judge.” Id., at 24. It is not too
    much to ask that the State show election speech similar
    consideration.
       The Court’s accusation of unworkability also suffers
    from a bit of a pot-kettle problem. Consider the many
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)           9
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    real-world questions left open by today’s decision. Does
    the First Amendment permit restricting a candidate’s
    appearing at an event where somebody else asks for cam-
    paign funds on his behalf? See Florida Judicial Ethics
    Advisory Committee Opinion No. 2012–14 (JEAC Op.).
    Does it permit prohibiting the candidate’s family from
    making personal solicitations? See ibid. Does it allow
    prohibiting the candidate from participating in the crea-
    tion of a Web site that solicits funds, even if the candi-
    date’s name does not appear next to the request? See
    JEAC Op. No. 2008–11. More broadly, could Florida ban
    thank-you notes to donors? Cap a candidate’s campaign
    spending? Restrict independent spending by people other
    than the candidate? Ban independent spending by corpo-
    rations? And how, by the way, are judges supposed to
    decide whether these measures promote public confidence
    in judicial integrity, when the Court does not even have a
    consistent theory about what it means by “judicial integ-
    rity”? For the Court to wring its hands about workability
    under these circumstances is more than one should have
    to bear.
                                  D
      Even if Florida could show that banning all personal
    appeals for campaign funds is necessary to protect public
    confidence in judicial integrity, the Court must overpower
    one last sentinel of free speech before it can uphold Canon
    7C(1). Among its other functions, the First Amendment is
    a kind of Equal Protection Clause for ideas. The state
    ordinarily may not regulate one message because it harms
    a government interest yet refuse to regulate other mes-
    sages that impair the interest in a comparable way. Ap-
    plying this principle, we invalidated a law that prohibited
    picketing dwellings but made an exception for picketing
    about labor issues; the State could not show that labor
    picketing harmed its asserted interest in residential pri-
    10              WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                             SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    vacy any less than other kinds of picketing. Carey v.
    Brown, 
    447 U.S. 455
    , 464–465 (1980). In another case, we
    set aside a ban on showing movies containing nudity in
    drive-in theaters, because the government did not demon-
    strate that movies with nude scenes would distract pass-
    ing drivers any more than, say, movies with violent
    scenes. Erznoznik v. Jacksonville, 
    422 U.S. 205
    , 214–215
    (1975).
       The Court’s decision disregards these principles. The
    Court tells us that “all personal solicitations by judicial
    candidates create a public appearance that undermines
    confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.” Ante, at 19.
    But Canon 7C(1) does not restrict all personal solicita-
    tions; it restricts only personal solicitations related to
    campaigns. The part of the Canon challenged here prohib-
    its personal pleas for “campaign funds,” and the Canon
    elsewhere prohibits personal appeals to attorneys for
    “publicly stated support.” Judicial Conduct Code 38. So
    although Canon 7C(1) prevents Yulee from asking a law-
    yer for a few dollars to help her buy campaign pamphlets,
    it does not prevent her asking the same lawyer for a per-
    sonal loan, access to his law firm’s luxury suite at the local
    football stadium, or even a donation to help her fight the
    Florida Bar’s charges. What could possibly justify these
    distinctions? Surely the Court does not believe that re-
    quests for campaign favors erode public confidence in a
    way that requests for favors unrelated to elections do not.
    Could anyone say with a straight face that it looks worse
    for a candidate to say “please give my campaign $25” than
    to say “please give me $25”?*
    ——————
      * Neither Florida nor the Court identifies any other ethics rule that
    would prevent candidates like Yulee from asking for favors unrelated to
    elections, and I know of none. The Supreme Court of Florida has
    adopted various rules restricting sitting judges’ solicitation and ac-
    ceptance of favors, but these rules do not bind challengers like Yulee.
                          Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)                       11
    
                               SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
      Fumbling around for a fig-leaf, the Court says that “the
    First Amendment imposes no freestanding ‘underinclu-
    siveness limitation.’ ” Ante, at 13. This analysis elides the
    distinction between selectivity on the basis of content and
    selectivity on other grounds. Because the First Amend-
    ment does not prohibit underinclusiveness as such, law-
    makers may target a problem only at certain times or in
    certain places. Because the First Amendment does pro-
    hibit content discrimination as such, lawmakers may not
    target a problem only in certain messages. Explaining
    this distinction, we have said that the First Amendment
    would allow banning obscenity “only in certain media or
    markets” but would preclude banning “only that obscenity
    which includes offensive political messages.” R. A. V. v.
    St. Paul, 
    505 U.S. 377
    , 387–388 (1992) (emphasis delet-
    ed). This case involves selectivity on the basis of content.
    The Florida Supreme Court has decided to eliminate the
    appearances associated with “personal appeals for money,”
    ante, at 18, when the appeals seek money for a campaign
    but not when the appeals seek money for other purposes.
    That distinction violates the First Amendment. See
    Erznoznik, supra, at 215.
      Even on the Court’s own terms, Canon 7C(1) cannot
    stand. The Court concedes that “underinclusiveness can
    raise ‘doubts about whether the government is in fact
    pursuing the interest it invokes.’ ” Ante, at 13. Canon
    7C(1)’s scope suggests that it has nothing to do with the
    appearances created by judges’ asking for money, and
    everything to do with hostility toward judicial campaign-
    
    ——————
    See, e.g., Canon 4D(2)(a), Judicial Conduct Code 18–19 (“A judge as [a
    member or officer of an organization] . . . shall not personally or directly
    participate in the solicitation of funds . . . ”); Canon 5D(5), id., at 24 (“A
    judge shall not accept . . . a gift, bequest, favor or loan . . .”); JEAC Op.
    No. 2010–14 (“[J]udicial candidates are only governed by Canon 7, and
    not by the remainder of the Code of Judicial Conduct”).
    12           WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    ing. How else to explain the Florida Supreme Court’s
    decision to ban all personal appeals for campaign funds
    (even when the solicitee could never appear before the
    candidate), but to tolerate appeals for other kinds of funds
    (even when the solicitee will surely appear before the
    candidate)? It should come as no surprise that the ABA,
    whose model rules the Florida Supreme Court followed
    when framing Canon 7C(1), opposes judicial elections—
    preferring instead a system in which (surprise!) a commit-
    tee of lawyers proposes candidates from among whom the
    Governor must make his selection. See White, 536 U. S.,
    at 787.
       The Court tries to strike a pose of neutrality between
    appointment and election of judges, but no one should be
    deceived. A Court that sees impropriety in a candidate’s
    request for any contributions to his election campaign does
    not much like judicial selection by the people. One cannot
    have judicial elections without judicial campaigns, and
    judicial campaigns without funds for campaigning, and
    funds for campaigning without asking for them. When a
    society decides that its judges should be elected, it neces-
    sarily decides that selection by the people is more im-
    portant than the oracular sanctity of judges, their immun-
    ity from the (shudder!) indignity of begging for funds, and
    their exemption from those shadows of impropriety that
    fall over the proletarian public officials who must run for
    office. A free society, accustomed to electing its rulers,
    does not much care whether the rulers operate through
    statute and executive order, or through judicial distortion
    of statute, executive order, and constitution. The prescrip-
    tion that judges be elected probably springs from the
    people’s realization that their judges can become their
    rulers—and (it must be said) from just a deep-down feel-
    ing that members of the Third Branch will profit from a
    hearty helping of humble pie, and from a severe reduction
    of their great remove from the (ugh!) People. (It should
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)           13
    
                         SCALIA, J., dissenting
    
    not be thought that I myself harbor such irreverent and
    revolutionary feelings; but I think it likely—and year by
    year more likely—that those who favor the election of
    judges do so.) In any case, hostility to campaigning by
    judges entitles the people of Florida to amend their Con-
    stitution to replace judicial elections with the selection of
    judges by lawyers’ committees; it does not entitle the
    Florida Supreme Court to adopt, or this Court to endorse,
    a rule of judicial conduct that abridges candidates’ speech
    in the judicial elections that the Florida Constitution
    prescribes.
                              *    *    *
       This Court has not been shy to enforce the First
    Amendment in recent Terms—even in cases that do not
    involve election speech. It has accorded robust protection
    to depictions of animal torture, sale of violent video games
    to children, and lies about having won military medals.
    See United States v. Stevens, 
    559 U.S. 460
     (2010); Enter-
    tainment Merchants, 
    564 U.S.
    ___; Alvarez, 
    567 U.S.
    ___.
    Who would have thought that the same Court would today
    exert such heroic efforts to save so plain an abridgement of
    the freedom of speech? It is no great mystery what is
    going on here. The judges of this Court, like the judges of
    the Supreme Court of Florida who promulgated Canon
    7C(1), evidently consider the preservation of public respect
    for the courts a policy objective of the highest order. So it
    is—but so too are preventing animal torture, protecting
    the innocence of children, and honoring valiant soldiers.
    The Court did not relax the Constitution’s guarantee of
    freedom of speech when legislatures pursued those goals;
    it should not relax the guarantee when the Supreme Court
    of Florida pursues this one. The First Amendment is not
    abridged for the benefit of the Brotherhood of the Robe.
       I respectfully dissent.
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)           1
    
                        KENNEDY, J., dissenting
    
    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
                             _________________
    
                             No. 13–1499
                             _________________
    
    
         LANELL WILLIAMS-YULEE, PETITIONER v.
    
                  THE FLORIDA BAR 
    
        ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF 
    
                           FLORIDA
    
                            [April 29, 2015] 
    
    
      JUSTICE KENNEDY, dissenting.
      The dissenting opinion by JUSTICE SCALIA gives a full
    and complete explanation of the reasons why the Court’s
    opinion contradicts settled First Amendment principles.
    This separate dissent is written to underscore the irony in
    the Court’s having concluded that the very First Amend-
    ment protections judges must enforce should be lessened
    when a judicial candidate’s own speech is at issue. It is
    written to underscore, too, the irony in the Court’s having
    weakened the rigors of the First Amendment in a case
    concerning elections, a paradigmatic forum for speech and
    a process intended to protect freedom in so many other
    manifestations.
      First Amendment protections are both personal and
    structural. Free speech begins with the right of each
    person to think and then to express his or her own ideas.
    Protecting this personal sphere of intellect and conscience,
    in turn, creates structural safeguards for many of the
    processes that define a free society. The individual speech
    here is political speech. The process is a fair election.
    These realms ought to be the last place, not the first, for
    the Court to allow unprecedented content-based re-
    strictions on speech. See Monitor Patriot Co. v. Roy, 
    401 U.S. 265
    , 272 (1971) (the First Amendment has its “fullest
    and most urgent application precisely to the conduct of
    2             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                        KENNEDY, J., dissenting
    
    campaigns for political office”). As James Madison ob-
    served: “A popular Government, without popular infor-
    mation, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a
    Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. [A] people who
    mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves
    with the power which knowledge gives.” Letter to William
    T. Berry (Aug. 4, 1822), in J. Madison, Writings 790
    (J. Rakove ed. 1999). The Court’s decision in this case im-
    perils the content neutrality essential both for individual
    speech and the election process.
       With all due respect for the Court, it seems fair and
    necessary to say its decision rests on two premises, neither
    one correct. One premise is that in certain elections—here
    an election to choose the best qualified judge—the public
    lacks the necessary judgment to make an informed choice.
    Instead, the State must protect voters by altering the
    usual dynamics of free speech. The other premise is that
    since judges should be accorded special respect and dig-
    nity, their election can be subject to certain content-based
    rules that would be unacceptable in other elections. In my
    respectful view neither premise can justify the speech
    restriction at issue here. Although States have a compel-
    ling interest in seeking to ensure the appearance and the
    reality of an impartial judiciary, it does not follow that the
    State may alter basic First Amendment principles in
    pursuing that goal. See Republican Party of Minn. v.
    White, 
    536 U.S. 765
    , 788 (2002).
       While any number of troubling consequences will follow
    from the Court’s ruling, a simple example can suffice to
    illustrate the dead weight its decision now ties to public
    debate. Assume a judge retires, and two honest lawyers,
    Doe and Roe, seek the vacant position. Doe is a respected,
    prominent lawyer who has been active in the community
    and is well known to business and civic leaders. Roe, a
    lawyer of extraordinary ability and high ethical standards,
    keeps a low profile. As soon as Doe announces his or her
                      Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)            3
    
                        KENNEDY, J., dissenting
    
    candidacy, a campaign committee organizes of its own
    accord and begins raising funds. But few know or hear
    about Roe’s potential candidacy, and no one with resources
    or connections is available to assist in raising the funds
    necessary for even a modest plan to speak to the elec-
    torate. Today the Court says the State can censor Roe’s
    speech, imposing a gag on his or her request for funds, no
    matter how close Roe is to the potential benefactor or
    donor. The result is that Roe’s personal freedom, the right
    of speech, is cut off by the State.
       The First Amendment consequences of the Court’s
    ruling do not end with its denial of the individual’s right to
    speak. For the very purpose of the candidate’s fundraising
    was to facilitate a larger speech process: an election cam-
    paign. By cutting off one candidate’s personal freedom to
    speak, the broader campaign debate that might have
    followed—a debate that might have been informed by new
    ideas and insights from both candidates—now is silenced.
       Elections are a paradigmatic forum for speech. Though
    present day campaign rhetoric all too often might thwart
    or obscure deliberative discourse, the idea of elections is
    that voters can engage in, or at least consider, a principled
    debate. That debate can be a means to find consensus for
    a civic course that is prudent and wise. This pertains both
    to issues and to the choice of elected officials. The First
    Amendment seeks to make the idea of discussion, open
    debate, and consensus-building a reality. But the Court
    decides otherwise. The Court locks the First Amendment
    out.
       Whether an election is the best way to choose a judge is
    itself the subject of fair debate. But once the people of a
    State choose to have elections, the First Amendment
    protects the candidate’s right to speak and the public’s
    ensuing right to open and robust debate. See ibid. One
    advantage of judicial elections is the opportunity offered
    for the public to become more knowledgeable about their
    4             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                        KENNEDY, J., dissenting
    
    courts and their law. This might stimulate discourse over
    the requisite and highest ethical standards for the judici-
    ary, including whether the people should elect a judge who
    personally solicits campaign funds. Yet now that teaching
    process is hindered by state censorship. By allowing the
    State’s speech restriction, the Court undermines the
    educational process that free speech in elections should
    facilitate.
      It is not within our Nation’s First Amendment tradition
    to abridge speech simply because the government believes
    a question is too difficult or too profound for voters. If the
    State is concerned about unethical campaign practices, it
    need not revert to the assumption that voters themselves
    are insensitive to ethics. Judicial elections were created to
    enable citizens to decide for themselves which judges are
    best qualified and which are most likely to “stand by the
    constitution of the State against the encroachment of
    power.” Report of the Debates and Proceedings of the
    Convention for the Revision of the Constitution of the
    State of New York 672 (1846). The Court should not now
    presume citizens are unequipped for that task when it
    comes to judging for themselves who should judge them.
      If there is concern about principled, decent, and
    thoughtful discourse in election campaigns, the First
    Amendment provides the answer. That answer is more
    speech. See, e.g., Whitney v. California, 
    274 U.S. 357
    , 377
    (1927) (Brandeis, J., concurring) (when the government
    objects to speech, “the remedy to be applied is more
    speech, not enforced silence”). For example, candidates
    might themselves agree to appoint members of a panel
    charged with periodic evaluation of campaign statements,
    candor, and fairness. Those evaluations could be made
    public. And any number of private organizations or voter
    groups seeking to evaluate campaign rhetoric could do the
    same. See White, supra, at 795 (KENNEDY, J. concurring).
      Modern communication technologies afford voters and
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)           5
    
                        KENNEDY, J., dissenting
    
    candidates an unparalleled opportunity to engage in the
    campaign and election process. These technologies may
    encourage a discourse that is principled and informed.
    The Internet, in particular, has increased in a dramatic
    way the rapidity and pervasiveness with which ideas may
    spread. Whether as a result of disclosure laws or a candi-
    date’s voluntary decision to make the campaign transpar-
    ent, the Internet can reveal almost at once how a candi-
    date sought funds; who the donors were; and what
    amounts they gave. Indeed, disclosure requirements offer
    a powerful, speech-enhancing method of deterring corrup-
    tion—one that does not impose limits on how and when
    people can speak. See Doe v. Reed, 
    561 U.S. 1
    86, 199
    (2010) (“Public disclosure also promotes transparency and
    accountability in the electoral process to an extent other
    measures cannot”). Based on disclosures the voters can
    decide, among other matters, whether the public is well
    served by an elected judiciary; how each candidate defines
    appropriate campaign conduct (which may speak volumes
    about his or her judicial demeanor); and what persons and
    groups support or oppose a particular candidate. See
    Buckley v. Valeo, 
    424 U.S. 1
    , 67 (1976) (per curiam). With
    detailed information about a candidate’s practices in
    soliciting funds, voters may be better informed in choosing
    those judges who are prepared to do justice “without fear
    or favor.” 10 Encyclopaedia of the Laws of England 105
    (2d ed. 1908). The speech the Court now holds foreclosed
    might itself have been instructive in this regard, and it
    could have been open to the electorate’s scrutiny. Judicial
    elections, no less than other elections, presuppose faith in
    democracy. Judicial elections are no exception to the
    premise that elections can teach.
       In addition to narrowing the First Amendment’s reach,
    there is another flaw in the Court’s analysis. That is its
    error in the application of strict scrutiny. The Court’s
    evisceration of that judicial standard now risks long-term
    6             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         KENNEDY, J., dissenting
    
    harm to what was once the Court’s own preferred First
    Amendment test. As JUSTICE SCALIA well explains, the
    state law at issue fails strict scrutiny for any number of
    reasons. The candidate who is not wealthy or well con-
    nected cannot ask even a close friend or relative for a bit of
    financial help, despite the lack of any increased risk of
    partiality and despite the fact that disclosure laws might
    be enacted to make the solicitation and support public.
    This law comes nowhere close to being narrowly tailored.
    And by saying that it survives that vital First Amendment
    requirement, the Court now writes what is literally a
    casebook guide to eviscerating strict scrutiny any time the
    Court encounters speech it dislikes. On these premises,
    and for the reasons explained in more detail by JUSTICE
    SCALIA, it is necessary for me to file this respectful dissent.
                     Cite as: 575 U. S. ____ (2015)            1
    
                         ALITO, J., dissenting
    
    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
                             _________________
    
                             No. 13–1499
                             _________________
    
    
         LANELL WILLIAMS-YULEE, PETITIONER v.
    
                  THE FLORIDA BAR 
    
        ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF 
    
                           FLORIDA
    
                            [April 29, 2015] 
    
    
      JUSTICE ALITO, dissenting.
      I largely agree with what I view as the essential ele-
    ments of the dissents filed by JUSTICES SCALIA and
    KENNEDY. The Florida rule before us regulates speech
    that is part of the process of selecting those who wield the
    power of the State. Such speech lies at the heart of the
    protection provided by the First Amendment. The Florida
    rule regulates that speech based on content and must
    therefore satisfy strict scrutiny. This means that it must
    be narrowly tailored to further a compelling state interest.
    Florida has a compelling interest in making sure that its
    courts decide cases impartially and in accordance with the
    law and that its citizens have no good reason to lack confi-
    dence that its courts are performing their proper role. But
    the Florida rule is not narrowly tailored to serve that
    interest.
      Indeed, this rule is about as narrowly tailored as a
    burlap bag. It applies to all solicitations made in the
    name of a candidate for judicial office—including, as was
    the case here, a mass mailing. It even applies to an ad in
    a newspaper. It applies to requests for contributions in
    any amount, and it applies even if the person solicited is
    not a lawyer, has never had any interest at stake in any
    case in the court in question, and has no prospect of ever
    having any interest at stake in any litigation in that court.
    2             WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR
    
                         ALITO, J., dissenting
    
    If this rule can be characterized as narrowly tailored, then
    narrow tailoring has no meaning, and strict scrutiny,
    which is essential to the protection of free speech, is seri-
    ously impaired.
       When petitioner sent out a form letter requesting cam-
    paign contributions, she was well within her First
    Amendment rights. The Florida Supreme Court violated
    the Constitution when it imposed a financial penalty and
    stained her record with a finding that she had engaged in
    unethical conduct. I would reverse the judgment of the
    Florida Supreme Court.
    

Document Info

DocketNumber: 13-1499

Citation Numbers: 135 S. Ct. 1656, 191 L. Ed. 2d 570, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 2983

Filed Date: 4/29/2015

Precedential Status: Precedential

Modified Date: 3/14/2018

Authorities (41)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Com'n , 558 U.S. 310 ( 2010 )

United States v. Stevens , 559 U.S. 460 ( 2010 )

United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co. , 200 U.S. 321 ( 1906 )

Tumey v. Ohio , 273 U.S. 510 ( 1927 )

Whitney v. California , 274 U.S. 357 ( 1927 )

Stromberg v. California , 283 U.S. 359 ( 1931 )

Schneider v. State (Town of Irvington) , 308 U.S. 147 ( 1939 )

Offutt v. United States , 348 U.S. 11 ( 1954 )

Monitor Patriot Co. v. Roy , 401 U.S. 265 ( 1971 )

Erznoznik v. Jacksonville , 422 U.S. 205 ( 1975 )

Buckley v. Valeo , 424 U.S. 1 ( 1976 )

Ohralik v. Ohio State Bar Assn. , 436 U.S. 447 ( 1978 )

Schaumburg v. Citizens for a Better Environment , 444 U.S. 620 ( 1980 )

Marshall v. Jerrico, Inc. , 446 U.S. 238 ( 1980 )

Carey v. Brown , 447 U.S. 455 ( 1980 )

Metromedia, Inc. v. San Diego , 453 U.S. 490 ( 1981 )

Riley v. National Federation of Blind of NC, Inc. , 487 U.S. 781 ( 1988 )

Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic Central Comm. , 489 U.S. 214 ( 1989 )

Florida Star v. BJF , 491 U.S. 524 ( 1989 )

Sable Communications of Cal., Inc. v. FCC , 492 U.S. 115 ( 1989 )

View All Authorities »

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