On February 21, 2014, the Vanderbilt Law Review, with the generous support of the American Trust and Estate Counsel Foundation, hosted a symposium entitled, “The Role of Federal Law in Private Wealth Transfer.” The following ten articles and five comments by distinguished authors explore, for the first time in an analytically probing and comprehensive manner, the increasing federalization of private wealth transfer.
Our current Roundtable considers Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, to be argued before the Supreme Court on January 20, 2015. In Williams-Yulee, the Court considers whether a rule of judicial conduct that bans judicial candidates from directly soliciting campaign funds violates the First Amendment. The case has important implications, as currently thirty-nine states elect at least some of their judges and at least twenty have adopted rules of judicial conduct that prohibit candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds. Beyond an obvious split among both federal and state appellate courts, Williams-Yulee presents a conflict between the scope of protection afforded by the First Amendment of political speech and the need for judicial impartiality and integrity. Authors Robert O’Neil, Ruthann Robson, Chris Bonneau, Shane Redman, David Earley, Matthew Menendez, Stephen Ware, Charles Geyh, Burt Neuborne, Michael DeBow, and Brannon Denning tackle these questions and more in their contributions.