September 14, 1993
Digest: A judge may attend a purely social reunion dinner of the former members of a political club that was completely disbanded in 1969 and may permit his name to be used, without any official designation, on the invitation letterhead which is entitled “Alumni of the [named political] Club.”
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.7
A judge inquires whether it is permissible not only to attend but to allow use of the judge’s name, without official designation, on the letter of invitation to a purely social “reunion dinner” of the former members of a political club that was disbanded in 1969 and has held no meetings or engaged in any activity since that time. The dinner will merely be a reunion of old friends and associates, the first in 24 years, and will have no current political purpose nor engage in any political activity. The letter of invitation will bear the heading “Alumni of the [named political] Club” and will list the judge’s name, without title, together with four other names.
The proscription on political activity by judges which is detailed in Section 100.7 of the Chief Administrator’s Rules is directed toward political parties and organizations currently active in the political process and cannot reasonably be interpreted to include a wholly social gathering of old friends and acquaintances whose political activity will be limited to reminiscences of a quarter of a century ago. Use of the judge’s name, without official designation, on the letterhead of the invitation which refers to “Alumni” of what is known to be a long defunct political club does not constitute the kind of current political activity or involvement which the rule is designed to prohibit.