November 12, 1987
The Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, at its meeting of November 8, 1987, considered your inquiry of October 21, 1987, whether you may, consistent with your ethical obligations as a judge, continue your active intervention as an individual defendant, pro se, in a Federal action, relating to the constitutionality of the New York City Board of Estimate, which is now before the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Advisory Committee is of the opinion that you should not continue to appear as a pro se litigant in this litigation because, under all of the facts and circumstances, your appearance is not pro se in the traditional sense of representing yourself in a personal matter, and you would be voluntarily assuming a quasi-representative role rather like an expert witness or an attorney representing the people of [your borough] in an appeal before the Supreme Court on a politico-legal question. The Advisory Committee believes that this activity is ethically inappropriate for a sitting judge.
The foregoing response is based solely upon the information submitted and the representations set forth in your inquiry. It shall have no effect as a precedent insofar as any other state of facts is concerned.