December 23, 2009
This responds to your inquiry (09-148) asking the Committee to reconsider our prior opinions which prohibit a judge, during his/her window period, from circulating nominating petitions seeking signatures for other candidates if those other petitions do not include the judge’s name.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit judges from engaging in partisan political activity except in connection with the judge’s own campaign (see 22 NYCRR 100.5). In the Committee’s view, circulating the nominating petition of another candidate is tantamount to an endorsement of that person and may be construed as prohibited political activity.
Therefore, the Committee adheres to its prior opinions which allow a judge to circulate his/her own nominating petition or petitions for a slate of candidates which include the judge’s name. Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 91-96 and 91-94 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Justice of the Supreme Court (Ret.)