June 18, 1999
A judge should not act as co-host together with the judge's spouse, who
is employed by a state assemblyman, at a meeting at the judge's home between
the assemblyman and constituents.
22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1); 100.5(A)(1)(c), (e) and (g).
A judge inquires as to the propriety of hosting, along with the judge's spouse, an informal "get-together" for a member of the State Assembly and the assemblyman's constituents, at the judge's home. The home is solely owned by the judge and the judge and spouse would invite neighbors to take part in a coffee and cake event. The judge's spouse is employed by the assemblyman.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a judge from engaging in political activity either "directly or indirectly." 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1). Included in the prohibition is any partisan political activity, public endorsements of candidates and attendance at political gatherings. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1)(c), (e), (g). Clearly what is intended in this instance is a political gathering, amounting to partisan political activity which could readily be perceived as an endorsement. Accordingly, in our opinion, the judge should not offer his/her home as a site for the event.