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This article argues that while the text and the history of the gag rule would seem to indicate that implied commitments are prohibited, candidates have a wide variety of methods available to signal voters how they might decide cases if they reach the bench. Courts have failed to recognize the importance of limiting speech other than traditional policy promises due to a failure to adequately consider the most important motivating factor behind the gag rule: providing litigants impartial adjudication. Because courts have not made this the primary consideration in the gag rule cases, speech occurs in campaigns that would otherwise be forbidden under the Canon. The author purposes a new, functional interpretation of the gag rule that forbids statements which would cause constituents to vote based on how judges will decide cases.

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UMKC Law Review



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