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State of California

Judicial Campaigns and Elections: California

Campaign Conduct

According to Canon 5 of California's code of judicial ethics, judicial candidates shall not:

  • Make statements that commit them with respect to cases, controversies, or issues that could come before the courts.
  • Knowingly, or with reckless disregard for the truth, misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning themselves or their opponents.

In 1986, California voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment (Proposition 49) that proscribed political party endorsements in elections for nonpartisan offices. The provision was ruled unconstitutional in 1990 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Geary v. Renne, 911 F.2d 280 (9th Cir. 1990)(en banc), but the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the case as not ripe for review. The provision was again declared unconstitutional by a federal district judge in California Democratic Party v. Lungren, 919 F. Supp. 1397 (N.D. Cal. 1996).