Select a State:

State of Illinois

Judicial Campaigns and Elections: Illinois

Campaign Conduct

According to Canon 7 of Illinois' code of judicial conduct, judicial candidates shall not:
  • Make statements that commit or appear to commit them with respect to cases, controversies, or issues within cases that are likely to come before the court.
  • Knowingly misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning themselves or an opponent.
  • Personally solicit or accept campaign contributions.

Candidates may establish campaign committees to solicit and accept contributions, manage campaign funds, and obtain public statements of support. Committees may solicit contributions and public support no earlier than one year before the election and no later than 90 days after the last election in which the candidate participates.

Earlier restrictions on judicial candidate speech were struck down as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech by a federal court of appeals. In 1991, state court judges challenged a rule that prohibited judicial candidates from making pledges or promises of conduct in office and from announcing their views on disputed legal or political issues. According to the court, the rule "reache[d] far beyond speech that could reasonably be interpreted as committing the candidate in a way that would compromise his impartiality should he be successful in the election." Buckley v. Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, 997 F.2d 224 (7th Cir. 1993).