Digest: A candidate for justice of the Supreme Court, upon taking office, must resign his/her position as trustee of a local community college which is part of the State University of New York.
Rules: Art. 6, § 20 (b) (1), New York State Constitution.
A candidate for justice of the Supreme Court with a four-party endorsement inquiries whether he/she, if elected to judicial office, may continue to serve as a member of the board of trustees of a local community college which is part of the State University of New York.
Article 6, section 20 (b)(1) of the New York State Constitution states in pertinent part that a justice of the Supreme Court may not:
(1) hold any other public office or trust except an office in relation to the administration of the courts, member of a constitutional convention or member of the armed forces of the United States or of the state of New York in which latter event the legislature may enact such legislation as it deems appropriate to provide for a temporary judge or justice to serve during the period of the absence of such judge or justice in the armed forces;
It is the opinion of the Committee that the Office of trustee of a community college of the State University is a “public office or trust” and, thus, if the candidate is elected to the Supreme Court, he/she must resign as a trustee of the community college.
The committee dealt with a similar issue in Opinion 90-32, Vol. V. In that instance, by contrast to this inquiry, a City Court judge, sitting outside New York City, was allowed to serve on the board of trustees of a community college as the constitutional prohibition applies to specific judges and justices and does not apply to City Court judges serving outside the City of New York.