After a major corruption scandal, Florida enforced new judicial ethics rules, including one prohibiting judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign donations and turning over the task to a campaign committee. But, as a case before the U.S. Supreme Court this week shows, the state would have been better off simply ending the perversity of electing judges rather than attempting to make a fundamentally flawed practice somewhat less awful.

The case involves Lanell Williams-Yulee, fined by the Florida Bar for sending out a letter in 2009 that announced her campaign for judge and asked for donations.

We agree that the state has a strong interest in encouraging judges to apply the law impartially; building even the thin barrier of a campaign committee between judicial candidates and campaign contributors lowers the possibility of quid-pro-quo corruption.

But the fact that judges need campaign donations in the first place means that donors and candidates will have an avenue to corrupt the judicial process, no matter how narrow states try to make it.

This Supreme Court, meanwhile, isn’t likely to give states a wholly free hand in regulating judicial elections, owing to concerns about stifling free speech. This case is just one lousy product of an unwise system. The real solution is to do away with that system, appointing state judges rather than electing them.