March 30, 2009
Dear Justice :
This responds to your inquiry (09-50) asking whether it is ethically proper for you to comment publicly on the vote of the Village Board to dissolve the Village Court, subject to a permissive referendum pursuant to local law.
Pursuant to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, a judge may be a member, or serve as an officer, director or non-legal advisor of an organization or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C]). A fortiori, the Committee has determined that a judge may also publicly comment on matters involving the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice. Therefore, there is no ethical prohibition to making a public comment on the Board’s vote.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 07-109, 97-02 and 92-50 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Justice of the Supreme Court