Opinion 90-160


October 23, 1990


Please review Opinion 08-196 before relying on this opinion to calculate the start of the window period for a candidate for Supreme Court.

 

Digest:         A judge seeking re-election may not commence his or her campaign for re-election until nine months before a primary election, judicial nominating convention, party caucus or other party meeting for nominating a candidate for the elective office.

 

Rule:            22 NYCRR 100.7


Opinion:


         A full-time judge asks when it is permissible to commence campaigning for re-election; wether immediately following elections in the year preceding the expiration of the term, or the following January of the year of re-election.


         The rule governing political activity by judges is set forth in section 100.7 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, which opens with these words:

 

No judge during a term of office shall hold any office in a political party or organization or contribute to any political party or take part in any political campaign except his or her own campaign for elective office.


         Section 100.7 then describes proscribed and permitted political activities. Although the section does not prohibit a judge from taking part in his or her own campaign for elective judicial office during the judge’s term of office, the section does not, in so many words, spell out the precise date during the judge’s term of office upon which the judge may embark upon his or her campaign for re-election or for election to a difference judicial office.


         However, subdivision (a) of section 100.7 provides that starting nine months before a primary election, judicial nominating convention, party caucus or other party meeting for nominating a candidate for elective office for which the judge is an announced candidate, the judge may engage in political activity of a type described in section 100.7 which would otherwise be prohibited, such as purchasing tickets to politically sponsored dinners or other affairs and attending fundraising dinners or affairs on behalf of the judge’s own candidacy. Thus, section 100.7(a) authorizes activity associated with campaigning for office, but only within the nine month period specified.


         Hence, we conclude that the spirit of Section 100.7 requires a judge to wait until nine months before a primary election, judicial nominating convention, party caucus or other party meeting for nominating a candidate for elective office which the judge seeks before commencing a campaign for election or re-election.