March 1, 1990
Digest: A part-time judge may serve as a member of civic associations provided that such participation does not interfere with the performance of judicial duties and the organizations are not regularly involved in litigation. A judge may not be a member of a political party committee.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §§100.5(b) and 100.7(d)
A part-time judge inquires whether she may serve in two local civic organizations, which raise no money, and which are primarily involved in land use planning, neighborhood beautification, planning for future development, and providing affordable housing. The judge also inquires if she may be a member of the county’s Democratic or Republican committee, provided that she is not an officer.
Section 100.5(b) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides:
A judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties. A judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor to an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members, subject to the following limitations:
(1)a judge shall not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before him or her or will be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court.
The judge may be a member or officer of these civic organizations, provided that such participation does not interfere with her judicial duties and that it is not likely that the organizations will be regularly involved in litigation.
Section 100.7(d) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator states that a judge is prohibited from “being a member of or serving as an officer or functionary of any political club or organization or being an officer of any political party...” The judge’s membership in the local Democratic or Republican county committee would violate this provision and thus, is prohibited.