June 27, 2001
A judge who is a candidate for elective judicial office may speak on the
topic of election reform at a program sponsored by a political club, subject
to the limitations provided for in the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.
22 NYCRR 100.0(Q); 100.3(B)(8);
100.4(A)(1); 100.5(A)(2); 100.5(A)(4)(d)(ii);
Opinion 97-35 (Vol. XV);
Matter of Bruhn, 1999 Annual Report of NY
Commission on Judicial Conduct.
A judge, who is a candidate for elective judicial office, inquires whether it would be appropriate to participate in program to be held at a political club in which the topic of election reform is to be discussed. (The program is not a fund raising event.) The judge recently disposed of a noteworthy election law matter.
Based upon the fact that the presentation will take place within the authorized Window Period, during which the judge is entitled to attend and speak at political functions, the Committee finds that it would not be improper to for the judge to speak on this occasion before this political organization. 22 NYCRR 100.0(Q); 100.5(A)(2). Opinion 97-35 (Vol. XV).
But the fact that the inquiring judge may speak at a political function does not diminish the limitations on such speech that are provided for in the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, regardless of whether or not the judge is running for judicial office. Thus, the judge may not comment on any pending or impending proceeding in any court, including the matter recently disposed of by the judge, which may be on appeal. 22 NYCRR 100.3(B)(8). Nor may the judge make statements that commit or appear to commit the judge with respect to controversies or issues that are likely to come before the judge, or which may cast doubt on the judge's obligation to act impartially. 22 NYCRR 100.4(A)(1); 100.5(A)(4)(d)(ii); Matter of Bruhn, 1999 Annual Report of NY Commission on Judicial Conduct. Provided such restrictions are adhered to, the judge may speak to the organization on the proposed topic.