October 23, 1990
Digest: A full-time judge, who is not a candidate for elective judicial office, may nevertheless attend a dinner for a neighbor and social friend who is retiring from the state legislature.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.5(a) and 100.7.
A full-time judge, who is not a candidate for elective judicial office, has received an invitation to attend a dinner in honor of the retirement of a member of the state legislature. The invitation does not indicate that the affair is sponsored by a political organization. The retiring legislator and his/her spouse are neighbors and social friends of the judge. The tickets for the dinner cost $37.00 per person.
Assuming it to be a correct statement of facts that the affair is not sponsored by a political organization, there is no prohibition against the judge’s attendance at the dinner, which is permissible as an extra-judicial avocational activity [22 NYCRR 100.5(a)]. While the Chief Administrator’s Rules prohibit most political activity, (22 NYCRR 100.7) the judge may attend, provided that the judge does not sit on the dais, if there is one, and exercises discretion in avoiding actions that might be perceived as political in nature.