March 11, 1999
A part-time judge may join a county commission formed to provide a forum
for issues concerning women in the county.
22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(2)(a); 100.4(D); 100.6(B)(1).
A part-time judge has been invited to join a commission labeled a County Congress on Women's Issues. The letter from the county executive inviting the judge to join the commission states that the commission will provide a forum for women's issues concerning women in the county. The judge is interested in working with the commission but is concerned that the title "women's issues" appears to be one-sided, and inquires if participation is proper.
Section 100.4(C)(2)(a) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides that a full-time judge shall not accept appointment to a governmental committee or commission or other governmental position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy in matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice. Section 100.6(B)(1) of the Rules exempts part-time judges from the prohibition stated in section 100.4(C)(2)(a).
As there is no indication from the facts presented that the commission, which will be dealing with "women's issues," will be practicing invidious discrimination, it is the Committee's opinion that there is no prohibition precluding service on this particular commission. In other words, the fact that the focus is on "women's issues" does not mean that the practices of the organization are discriminatory thus calling into question the applicability of section 100.4(D) of the Rules.