Opinion 97-75

June 13, 1997




Digest:  A judge, or other candidate for judicial office (1) may not circulate the petitions of any other candidates for elective public office unless the judge's name appears as a candidate on the petitions along with the other candidates and (2) may not circulate petitions regarding a political party's judicial nominating convention or the naming of a delegate to the party's national convention.
 

Rules:  22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1), 100.5(A)(1)(c);
            Opinions 91-96 (Vol. VIII);
            91-94 (Vol. VIII).
 
 

Opinion:

            A town justice who is a candidate for re-election asks if it is permissible to circulate separate petitions nominating other members of the political party for the other elective offices that would comprise the party's slate of candidates. The inquirer also asks if it is appropriate to circulate separate petitions to form a judicial convention and/or to name a delegate to the party's national convention. The judge would circulate these other petitions while gathering signatures on the judge's own petition.

            This Committee has previously determined that a candidate for judicial office may not carry the petition of other candidates where the judicial candidate is not a named candidate on the petition. Opinions 91-94 (Vol. VIII) and 91-96 (Vol. VIII). Therefore, the judge may not circulate the petitions of any other candidates for any office unless the judge's name, as a candidate, actually appears on the petition along with the other candidates.

            Judges and nonjudicial candidates for judicial office are also prohibited from engaging in any activity of a partisan political nature unless otherwise authorized by law or the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1). In circulating petitions regarding a political party's judicial nominating convention or the naming of a delegate to the party's national convention, the judge would be engaging in partisan political activity unrelated to the judge's own campaign for elective judicial office. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1)(c). Accordingly, the inquirer may not circulate petitions regarding a political party's judicial nominating convention or the naming of a delegate to the party's national convention.