March 8, 2001
Under the circumstances presented, a judge may accept an unadvertised "Ellis
Island Medal of Honor," along with approximately 125 other honorees, from
a national coalition of ethnic organizations at its annual dinner.
22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(ii);
Opinion 96-52 (Vol. XIV).
A judge has been invited to accept an "Ellis Island Medal of Honor," along with approximately 125 other honorees, from a national coalition of ethnic organizations at its annual gala dinner. A dinner subscription journal will be published and distributed at the dinner. The names of the each year's medal recipients are unadvertised and not used for any form of solicitation. Further, the judge will not be a speaker at the event. The judge inquires regarding the propriety of accepting this award under these circumstances.
Section 100.4(C)(3)(b)(ii) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct specifically permits a judge to accept an "unadvertised award ancillary" to an organization's fund-raising event. As stated in Opinion 96-52 (Vol. XIV), not only must the judge's name not be used for the purpose of funds solicitation, "but the bestowing of the award itself must be unadvertised."
Based upon the representations of the inquiring judge in the letter of inquiry, both conditions have been met. Therefore, the judge may accept the Medal of Honor at the annual dinner.