September 18, 1990
Digest: A judge must prohibit a person whom the judge plans to appoint as a law clerk from serving as the elected chair of a local political party committee, and where the rules make the chair an ex officio member of the county executive committee.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.3(b)(5)(i)
A full-time judge inquires whether it is necessary to prohibit a person, whom the judge plans to appoint as a law clerk, from serving as chair for a town political party committee within the county where the judge serves. The position of chair is an elective post, and by party rule, the chair also becomes an ex officio member of the county political party's executive Committee.
Section 100.3(b)(5)(i) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides:
A judge shall prohibit members of his or her staff who are the judge's personal appointees from engaging in the following political activity :
holding an elective office in a political party or a club or organization related to a political party, except for delegate to a judicial nominating convention or member of a county committee other than the executive committee of a county committee.
Thus, while a judge’s personal appointees are not prohibited from engaging in all political activity, they are prohibited from “holding an elective office in a political party or a club or organization related to a political party”, and from serving as a member of the “executive committee of a county committee.”
Accordingly, as the prospective law clerk holds an elected office in a political party and is an ex officio member of the executive committee of the county committee, and as such political activity is prohibited by the Rules of the Chief Administrator, the judge may not permit the law clerk to hold the political position.