CHICAGO (CN) – Indiana Right to Life lacks standing to challenge a judicial code that allegedly prevents judicial candidates from answering questionnaires about controversial issues, the Seventh Circuit ruled.
Before the 2002 election, the organization asked candidates their views on topics such as abortion and assisted suicide. It received few responses and claimed the code chills speech. But Right to Life had troubling demonstrating injury because no candidate has been disciplined for answering its questions, and no one was willing to say that the code had prevented him or her from responding.
Right to Life found a willing candidate for the 2004 election in Christopher Newton, who said he agreed to participate “as a favor” to the organization’s counsel, whom he had interned with as a law student. Newton later claimed he would not have answered the survey, regardless of the code. The circuit dismissed the case, saying there was no threat of enforcement. See ruling in Indiana Right to Life v. Shepard.