January 21, 2014
This responds to your inquiry (13-159) asking whether it is ethically permissible for you to serve on a committee that “reviews, interprets, and advises on Church matters and doctrines.”
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct permit a judge to serve as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor of a ...religious ...organization, not conducted for profit, subject to certain limitations (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C]). Therefore, unless service necessitates that you engage in impermissible activities, such as, inter alia, fund-raising, you may serve on the committee.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 12-177, 06-183, 05-17, 03-129, 02-128, and 95-123 which set forth some general guidelines applicable to the involvement in religious activities.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)