Opinion: 01-65

June 27, 2001

Digest:  A judge should not accept membership in a coalition of elected officials in view of the fact that the coalition is likely to be involved in political issues and matters of public controversy.

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1);
           Opinions 99-74; 99-77.


            A full-time judge has been invited to participate in a regional coalition of black elected officials. The role of the coalition is to have the membership prioritize issues that elected and appointed government officials should address. Of necessity, political questions and matters of public controversy will be addressed by the group.

            This Committee has advised in prior opinions that it is inappropriate for a judge to serve in a not-for-profit organization when that organization is likely to be involved in matters of public controversy. Assuming such a role is, in our view, incompatible with judicial office. 22 NYCRR 100.4(A)(3). Opinion 99-74; 99-77. In addition, it is inappropriate for a judge to directly or indirectly be involved in partisan political issues. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1).

            In light of the fact that this coalition apparently will be concerned with both political issues as well as issues of public controversy, participation in these initiatives would appear to be incompatible with judicial office, and therefore the judge should decline the appointment.