Opinion 02-100

September 12, 2002


Digest:         Judges who are candidates for judicial office may hold a joint reception to meet the delegates to a judicial nominating convention, provided that there is a proportionate sharing of costs and adequate disavowals of cross-endorsement.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100 (A)(1)(e).


         Four judges who are candidates for the office of Supreme Court justice wish to hold a joint reception to meet the judicial delegates to the judicial nominating convention. As stated by the inquiring candidate:


It is our intention to pay for the reception ourselves, for each to pay one quarter of the costs and to declare in our literature and in statements we make that the joint reception does not constitute a cross endorsement among us and that we are not cross-endorsing or supporting one another for office.

         The conditions for holding the reception, as proposed by the inquiring judge, are clearly intended to allay any concern that the judges, by holding a joint reception, are violating section 100.5(A)(1)(e) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1)(e). It is that provision which prohibits a judge from publicly endorsing another candidate for public office, even if the judge himself or herself is a candidate for judicial office.

         In the opinion of the Committee, the actions to be taken by the inquiring judge and the three other candidates appear to avoid any inference of cross-endorsement. The explicit nature of the disavowals, together with the proportionate sharing of costs are, in our view, sufficiently prophylactic in nature so as to permit the reception to take place under the conditions stated.