October 23, 1990
PLEASE REFER TO OPINION 03-129 BEFORE RELYING ON THIS OPINION.
Digest: A full-time judge ethically may serve as chair of a local draft board at a time when there is no draft, and as a notary public.
Rules: 22NYCRR §100.5(b) and (g)
A full-time judge inquires about the propriety of serving as a member and chair of a local draft board, which meets once a year for a training session, and as a licensed notary public.
Section 100.5(b) of the rules of the Chief Administrator permits judges to participate in civic activities that do not reflect adversely on impartiality. Thus, there is no ethical bar to the judge’s serving on the draft board for training purposes. This Committee cannot answer whether such service would be permissible if the draft were reinstated, as this is a hypothetical situation. However, section 100.5(g) should be noted, as this provision prohibits judges from accepting appointments to governmental committees “concerned with issues of fact or policy in matters other than the improvement of law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.” There also exists no ethical prohibition against a judge’s serving as a notary, although it is difficult to see the utility of that service, since a judge may administer oaths.
This Committee is not interpreting Article VI, section 20, of the New York State Constitution concerning public posts for judges and the judge should refer to that provision for any possible constitutional prohibition against holding these positions.