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OPINION

Supreme Court upholds ethics laws

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WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court upheld ethics laws across the nation that forbid legislators and city councilmen from voting on matters in which they have a conflict of interest.
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Reversing the Nevada high court, the justices ruled that legislators do not have a free-speech right to vote as they choose. Therefore, the court said in a 9-0 vote, the 1st Amendment does not shield a legislator who is charged with an ethics violation.

Conflict-of-interest rules "have been commonplace for over 200 years," said Justice Antonin Scalia, and they have never been thought to infringe on the free-speech rights of lawmakers, he said.

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