Opinion No. 162 (1993)

QUESTION: May a judge be a guest of honor at a fund raising event for a political party?

ANSWER: Yes. Canon 7(3) states that a judge may indicate support for a political party and attend a political event. Canon 5C(4)(a) allows a judge to accept a gift incident to a public testimonial and by implication endorses public testimonials to judges.

Canon 5(B)2 at one time prohibited judges from soliciting funds for any educational, religious, charitable, political, fraternal, or civic organization. The Canon also prohibited judges from speaking or being guests of honor at such an organization's fund raising events. The word "political" was removed from this section of the canon by the Supreme Court February 10, 1988 (published S.W.2d Vol. 743-744, page XXIX). The Committee believes this change was to allow judges to be speakers or guests of honor at "political" fund raising events. The Canon later was amended by the Supreme Court, effective December 19, 1989, to allow judges to be speakers or guests of honor at educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organizations while continuing the prohibition against fund raising for such organizations (published S.W.2d Vol. 779-780, page XXX).

It should be noted that Canon 5B(2) found on page 125 of the 1990 edition of the Texas Judicial Service Handbook erroneously includes the word "political," which was deleted by the Supreme Court in 1988.