HARRISBURG - A second group has sued in federal court over Pennsylvania's ethical rules that limit what judicial candidates are allowed to say on the campaign trail. Democracy Rising PA, which advocates governmental reforms, yesterday sued members of the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board and Paul Killion, lawyer for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

Last month, a group of Republican judicial candidates in Lancaster County and the Pennsylvania Family Institute filed a federal lawsuit that said the rules violate the candidates' free-speech rights. At issue is a ban on candidates' saying anything that would "commit or appear to commit" them on "cases, controversies or issues" expected to come before the court.

"We're saying that our First Amendment rights are being violated, and there is case law that says organizations like ours, if they're deprived the ability to educate voters, also have lost their First Amendment rights," said Democracy Rising PA cofounder Tim Potts.

Democracy Rising PA and the Pennsylvania Family Institute claim the conduct rules have prevented candidates from responding to questionnaires about their positions on various issues. - AP