but rather speech for or against particular issues. Second, although "impartiality" in the sense of a lack of preconception in favor of or against a particular legal view may well be an interest served by the announce clause, pursuing this objective is not a compelling state interest, since it is virtually impossible, and hardly desirable, to find a judge who does not have preconceptions about the law, see Laird v. Tatum, 409 U. S. 824, 835. Third, the Court need not decide whether achieving "impartiality" (or its appearance) in the sense of openmindedness is a compelling state interest because, as a means of pursuing this interest, the announce clause is so woefully underinclusive that the Court does not believe it was adopted for that purpose. See, e. g., City of Ladue v. Gilleo, 512 U. S. 43, 52-53. Respondents have not carried the burden imposed by strict scrutiny of establishing that statements made during an election campaign are uniquely destructive of openmindedness. See, e. g., Landmark Communications, Inc. v. Virginia, 435 U. S. 829, 841. Pp. 775-784.
(d) A universal and long-established tradition of prohibiting certain conduct creates a strong presumption that the prohibition is constitutional, see McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm'n, 514 U. S. 334, 375-377. However, the practice of prohibiting speech by judicial candidates is neither ancient nor universal. The Court knows of no such prohibitions throughout the 19th and the first quarter of the 20th century, and they are still not universally adopted. This does not compare well with the traditions deemed worthy of attention in, e. g., Burson v. Freeman, 504 U. S. 191, 205-206. Pp. 785-787. (e) There is an obvious tension between Minnesota's Constitution, which requires judicial elections, and the announce clause, which places most subjects of interest to the voters off limits. The First Amendment does not permit Minnesota to leave the principle of elections in place while preventing candidates from discussing what the elections are about. See, e. g., Renne v. Geary, 501 U. S. 312, 349. Pp. 787-788. 247 F. 3d 854, reversed and remanded.
Scalia, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and O'Connor, Kennedy, and Thomas, JJ., joined. O'Connor, J., post, p. 788, and Kennedy, J., post, p. 792, filed concurring opinions. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined, post, p. 797. Ginsburg, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Stevens, Souter, and Breyer, JJ., joined, post, p. 803.
James Bopp, Jr., argued the cause for petitioners Republican Party of Minnesota et al. With him on the briefs werePage: Index Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
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