By Joshua Rich
Elizabeth Arias graduated from UCLA School of Law in May and immediately turned her attention to the first major test of her legal career…
On June 16, Arias delivered oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in French v. Jones, a First Amendment case with potentially far-reaching implications for election-related speech.
Seizing an exceedingly rare opportunity for someone just a few weeks out of law school, Arias represented the Center for Competitive Politics, a nonprofit for which UCLA Law professor Eugene Volokh and the students in his Scott and Cyan Banister First Amendment Clinic researched and drafted an amicus curiae brief. That document supported Mark French, a 2014 candidate for justice of the peace in Sanders County, Montana, who was barred by state law from saying that the Republican Party had endorsed him. French lost that race, but his challenge to the statute has lived on.
“The case is about whether judges can associate with a political party and whether the Montana law unfairly burdens judicial speech,” said Arias, who argued that the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s protections of free speech and association.