Bauer v. Shepard is an Indiana case currently on petition for certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court. It is the SCOTUSblog petition of the day today. The case is about the right of Indiana judges to speak about controversial issues. A group called Indiana Right to Life, Inc. sends questionnaires out to judges every year asking for opinions on abortion. Many judges decline to answer, some of them because they worry that expressing opinions on such a controversial issue would violate the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct. Now Indiana Right to Life and a few judges have joined in asking that certain provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct be declared unconstitutional. Several entries on the Indiana Law Blog have been keeping track of the case.
What do you think? Should judges be allowed to express an opinion on controversial issues? If they do, should they be allowed to rule on cases dealing with those issues?