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Mike Bryant
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Minnesota Judges Up for Election Asked to Take Pledge

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Since the United States Supreme Court
in 2002 ruled in Republican Party of Minnesota vs..
White that Minnesota judges can announce his or her views on legal disputes or
political issues there have been
statewide discussion about how judicial elections may
change.

In 2006 there were three contested elections where
candidates sought and received political endorsements. In an attempt to head off those
issues in this years election the Minnesota State Bar Association formed the
Judicial Elections Campaign Conduct
Committee to create a code of conduct for Minnesota judicial elections. Recently the
committee created a pledge which they will ask all candidates to sign. The
pledge contains:

  • -Be personally responsible for the content of all statements and
    campaign materials;
  • -Refrain from making public comments about pending or impending
    court proceedings or announce their opinions on disputed political issues or
    make promises about how they would rule;
  • -Disavow any advertisement that announces their views on disputed
    legal or political issues or makes promises or commitments;
  • -Refrain from identifying themselves or their opponents as members
    of a political organization;
  • -Refrain from personally seeking campaign contributions.
    Candidates are encouraged to establish finance committees to raise funds on
    their behalf.

Looking at the big money elections that have taken place in other states ,
where special interests have come in to buy seats or to change a benches majority,
the hope is that all candidates will sign this pledge.