The Commission seeks to discipline Judge Polk-Payton for speech that other judges routinely engage in: promoting a book and using social media. These common activities do not threaten the integrity of the judiciary. Rather, they are valuable to voters who can evaluate that speech and use it to make informed decisions. The Commission believes Judge Polk-Payton’s use of the Twitter handle “@JudgeCutie” is “undignified and demeaning” to the judicial office, but the handle conveys the judge’s personality to the public, which is essential for an elected judge.
The Commission also objects to a photo on the cover of the judge’s book, which shows her in ordinary clothes with her robe partially on; it is not clear whether she is putting on her robe or taking it off, but neither action demeans the judicial office. “Undignified” is a subjective judgment, and if anyone should enforce it, it should be the voters: If they find Judge Polk-Payton’s speech unbecoming to a judge, they will make that known come election time”