ADVISOR TO PUBLIC TASK FORCE

Opinion No. 86 (1986)


QUESTION: May judges serve in an advisory capacity to a public board or task force, where in all probability they will later preside over cases arising out of the crisis or problem for which the board or task force was created to solve?

ANSWER: Judges should regulate their activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the proper performance of their judicial duties. Canon 4 applies this admonition to judges' activities to improve the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice. Canons 5A, 5B, and 5D apply this same admonition to judges' extra-judicial activities. Canon 3 states, "The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all his other activities."

A majority of the Committee is of the opinion that it would be a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct for judges knowingly to agree to serve on or to continue to serve on such a board or task force, if in serving, a conflict with the proper performance of their judicial duties probably would arise or does arise. One judge dissented.