April 4, 1989
Topic: Participation by a judge in a high school essay contest on the subject of “Americanism” sponsored by a political club, by the judge’s reviewing the essays and selecting three essays and selecting three submissions for prizes to be awarded by the judge at a meeting of the political club.
Digest: A judge may not participate in the activities of a political club, even if the activities are non-political.
Rules : 22 NYCRR 100.7(a) and (d)
The Committee is asked whether a judge may participate in a high school contest sponsored by a political club involving essays on the subject of “Americanism” by reviewing the essays, choosing submissions and awarding three prizes at a meeting of the political club.
Section 100.7(a) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator proscribes a judge's attendance at “affairs sponsored by a political organization for a non-political purpose”, unless the judge is an announced candidate for an elective judicial office.
Further, section 100.7(d) of the Rules do not permit the use of the judge's name “in connection with any activity of such political party, group or organization.”
Under these provisions a judge may not review such essays prepared by high school students and award prizes at a meeting of a political club.