December 8, 1988
Topic: Appearance of Family Court judge at a political club to speak about the function of the Family Court.
Digest: A Family Court judge may not speak at a political club about the function of the Family Court.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.7(a) and (d)
A Family Court judge who is not running for election inquires whether it would be appropriate to speak to a political club about the function of the Family Court.
Section 100.7(a) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator lists as a political activity prohibited to a judge not running for election, the judge's attendance at “affairs sponsored by a political organization for a non-political purpose....” Section 100.7(d) of the Rules prohibits judges from permitting their names “to be used in connection with any activity of such political party, club or organization.” The pertinent provision of the rule applicable to the instant inquiry is the provision that a judge's attendance at an affair “sponsored” by a political organization is prohibited unless the judge is a candidate for reelection.
Under the terms of these provisions, judges should not speak at a political club regardless of the topic to be discussed. See also, Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinion 88-32, dated March 14, 1988 [judge may not speak at political club about the legal system].