Tennessee state courts adopt new ethics code

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The Judicial Update
Tennessee

January 13, 2011

Tennessee: The Tennessee state courts have adopted a new ethics code for judges. Known as the Tennessee Supreme Court 10, the new code will go into effect July 1st. This new code arose out of a two-year review of state courts overseen by the Tennessee Supreme Court; the last time the ethics code was revised was in 1990.[1] The new code addresses items of national concern such as judicial recusal and the influence of campaign donations on judges. Under the new code, judges will be barred from making donations to political campaigns or organizations; they can, however, buy tickets to attend political events.[1] This point has been rather contentious, and some have suggested that it infringes on judges' First Amendment rights.[2] Tennessee Bar Association President Danny Van Horn, a supporter of the new donation restrictions, offered this statement in regards to the controversy, “I think we struck a balance that is constitutional in terms of it not infringing on First Amendment rights while also protecting the system from undue influence by politics. I guess time will tell on that.”[1][2]

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