Federal court: Kentucky judicial candidates can declare party affiliations

A federal appeals court has struck down a rule preventing judicial candidates in Kentucky from declaring their political affiliations.
    
But a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld rules blocking judicial candidates from making financial contributions to other candidates or hosting political fundraisers.
    
The ruling on Wednesday could set new and wider boundaries for conduct in nonpartisan campaigns for Kentucky judgeships.
    
Christopher Wiest, an attorney representing three judicial candidates who challenged the rules, says the appeals court ruling backs the free-speech rights of prospective judges to promote their campaigns by identifying whether they’re Republicans or Democrats.
    
Wiest’s clients sued the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission in 2014 to challenge canons of judicial ethics that limited what judicial candidates could say during campaigns.

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