September 18, 1990
NOTE: MODIFIED BY RULE 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i)
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct were amended in 1996. Rule 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) now provides as follows:
(b) A judge as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor, or a member or otherwise:
(i) may assist such an organization [an organization devoted to the law, the legal system or the administration of justice or an educational, religious, charitable, cultural, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for profit] in planning fund-raising and may participate in the management and investment of the organization's funds, but shall not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities.
Digest: A full-time judge may serve as a member of the judicial honorary board of a branch of the NAACP provided the judge does not participate in the solicitation of funds.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.5(b).
A full-time judge inquires about a request received from a branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to become a member of its judicial honorary board.
Specifically, the judge’s inquiry relates to a reference in the letter inviting his participation, which may imply participation in fundraising activities.
The paragraph states:
As a member of the judicial honorary board your commitment will include attending affairs that the branch will sponsor to achieve our goal of having the judges meet and talk to the community and support our effort to sponsor the Bayard Rustin Court-Workers’ Branch Legal Education Awards.
While the paragraph may appear to imply fundraising activity, clearly there are wide areas of support activity available to the judge separate and distinct from fundraising and are permissible pursuant to section 100.5(b) of the Chief Administrator’s Rules.
The judge has recognized in the inquiry the area of concern Chief Administrator’s Rule 100.5(b) addresses and which defines the parameters of permissible participation and directly addresses fundraising in section 100.5(b)(2).
Chief Administrator’s Rule 100.5(b) states:
(b) Civil and charitable activities. 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 nonlegal advisor of 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.
(2) No judge shall solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of the office for that purpose, but may be listed as an officer, director or trustee of such an organization; provided, however, that no such listing shall be used in connection with any solicitation of funds. No judge shall be a speaker or the guest of honor at an organization’s fund raising events, but he or she may attend such events. Nothing in this Part shall be deemed to prohibit a judge form being a speaker or guest of honor at a bar association or law school function.
(3) A judge shall not give investment advice to such an organization, but he or she may serve on its board of directors or trustees even though it has the responsibility for approving investment decisions.
Pursuant to this rule, the judge unquestionably may serve as a member of the judicial honorary board but may not solicit funds or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose. Further, the judge’s name may be listed as a member of the honorary board but may not be used in connection with any solicitation of funds.
Provided the judge’s activity can be separated clearly from any fundraising as discussed, the judge may become a member of the judicial honorary board.