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florida > The Florida Election Code > Nonpartisan Elections

§ 105.09 Political activity in behalf of a candidate for judicial office limited.

Overview of Statute

This statute states that political parties and partisan political organizations are not allowed to endorse/support/assist judicial candidates. Further, any person who knowingly violates this section, whether acting individually or as a representative of an organization, is guilty of a second degree misdemeanor.

Statute

(1) No political party or partisan political organization shall endorse, support, or assist any candidate in a campaign for election to judicial office.

(2) Any person who knowingly, in an individual capacity or as an officer of an organization, violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

History:

s. 9, ch. 71-49; s. 38, ch. 77-175; s. 635, ch. 95-147.

Definition [Judicial Office]

Includes the office of:

(a) Justice of the Supreme Court.

(b) Judge of a district court of appeal.

(c) Judge of a circuit court.

(d) County court judge.

A judicial office is a nonpartisan office, and a candidate for election or retention thereto is prohibited from campaigning or qualifying for such an office based on party affiliation. Fla. Stat. § 105.011(2).

Definition [Person]

An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).

Definition [Candidate]

Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:

(a) Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
(b) Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
(c) Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
(d) Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
(e) Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
This definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(6).

Cases

florida Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Zeller v. The Florida Bar

Citation: 909 F.Supp. 1518

Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida

Year: 1995

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/6681e9a47ce4f7ee7863ae95ae98d722

Case Summary: Zeller v. The Florida Bar held that defendants were preliminarily enjoined from enforcing the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct Canon that prohibited candidates for judicial office from making campaign expenditures, since the harm to defendants in enjoining the limitations was outweighed by the more serious harm to plaintiffs and by the public interest in protecting political speech/expression.

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Courts and Judges s 292, Nonpartisanship requirement

  • 11/1/2012 Florida Bar News, The 2, Merit Retention

  • 9/1/2000 Florida Bar News, The 21, Judicial Candidates Should Steer Clear of Partisan Politics

  • “Judicial Elections: Canon 7, Politics, and Free Speech” 72-AUG Fla. B.J. 22

  • 6/15/1991 Florida Bar News, The 16, Judicial Candidates Must Steer Clear of Politics