ENDORSEMENT OF CANDIDATE

Opinion No. 53A (1980)*


QUESTION: May a judge endorse a specific candidate or candidates?

ANSWER: The Code of Judicial Conduct as amended February 19, 1980, does not specifically prohibit a judge from supporting a candidate or candidates, however, the Code in Canon 2B expressly states: "He (a judge) should not lend the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of others...." The Code in Canon 1 provides: "A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing, and should himself observe, high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved." The Code further states in Canon 2A: "A judge...should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary." The Committee is of the opinion that endorsing a candidate or candidates is within the discretion of a judge provided the nature and type of endorsement does not contravene Canon 1, Canon 2A and Canon 2B of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

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*See Canon 7, amended effective June 26, 1990.

ENDORSEMENT OF POLITICAL PARTY

Opinion No. 53B (1980)*


QUESTION: May a judge endorse a specific party?

ANSWER: The Committee assumes that the question is referring to a political party as distinguished from a specific person. Canon 5B(2) states: "A judge should not solicit funds for any... political...organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of his office for that purpose, but he may be listed as an officer, director, delegate or trustee of such an organization." The Committee is of the opinion that since Canon 5B(2) permits a judge to be an officer, director, delegate or trustee of a political party, that the endorsing of such political party is within the discretion of a judge and does not violate Canon 5B(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

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*Canon 5B(2) was amended effective December 19, 1989; also see Canon 7 as amended June 26, 1990.

DELEGATE TO PARTY CONVENTION

Opinion No. 53C (1980)*


QUESTION: May a judge engage in precinct, county and state party conventions as a delegate?

ANSWER: Canon 5B(2) states:
A judge should not solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, political, or civic organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of his office for that purpose, but he may be listed as an officer, director, delegate, or trustee of such an organization. He should not be a speaker or the guest of honor at an organization's fund-raising event, but he may attend such events.

The Committee is of the opinion that Canon 5B(2) permits a judge to be a delegate at precinct, county, and state party conventions.

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*Canon 5B(2) was amended effective December 19, 1989; also see Canon 7 as amended June 26, 1990.