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Should lawyers be able to contribute $ to a judge’s campaign?

A proposal at the annual Louisiana Bar Association meeting is to adopt a Rule of Professional Conduct that makes it unethical for a lawyer to contribute to a judicial campaign. The trade-off for the judges is that the Bar Association would create a fund for judicial campaigns that is funded by mandatory contributions from bar dues or assessments. There are exceptions for more rural areas and other efforts to make the proposal fair and palatable to the member of both the bar and the judiciary.

I can virtually guarantee that it will won’t be adopted. And this is in spite of the fact that a 1996 statewide poll of voters demonstrated that 80% of Louisiana citizens think that if an attorney contributed money to a judge’s campaign fund then the judge should be recused from hearing a case with that attorney. So, I guess where we are is that the Louisiana Bar is unable to craft an ethics system that comports with the expectations of 80% of its citizens. Kind of sad, isn’t it?

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