October 24, 1989
Digest: A part-time appointed village justice may not participate in political activities.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.7 Code; (Canons) of Judicial Conduct, Compliance section A (1)
An acting village justice, who is appointed, inquires if it is permissible to attend social functions and meetings at a political club, to pay dues, or to attend political fundraisers. The acting village justice presides only when the village justice is unable to do so, and has served only three times.
Section 100.7 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of Courts provides in part:
No judge during a term of office shall hold any office in a political party or organization or contribute to any political party or political campaigning or take part in any political campaign except his or her own campaign for elective judicial office. Political activity prohibited by this section includes:
(a) The purchase, directly or indirectly, of tickets to politically sponsored dinners or other affairs, or attendance at such dinners or other affairs, including dinners or other affairs sponsored by a political organization for non-political purposes...
(b) Contributions, directly or indirectly to any political campaign, for any office or for any political activity...
(d) Being a member of or serving as an officer or functionary of any political club or organization...
(e) Any other activity of a partisan political nature.
Since the proposed political activities of the justice fall within the proscription of section 100.7, the justice may not participate politically. Although the justice presides infrequently and was appointed to office, the rules contain no exception for part-time or appointed, rather than elected, judges.
In addition, Canon 7 of the Code (Canons) of Judicial Conduct prohibits a judge from participation in political activity inappropriate to judicial office. The Compliance provisions annexed to the Code exempt part-time judges from compliance with certain provisions of the Code, but not from compliance with the provisions of Canon 7 (see Compliance section A (1)).