January 27, 2005
Digest: A judge may serve as the Grand Marshal of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and attend the annual fund-raising dinner held in conjunction with the parade, provided the judge’s name is not used in connection with any fund-raising activities or materials.
Rules: Opinion 98-49 (Vol. XVI).
A judge has been asked to serve as the Grand Marshal of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. If the judge accepts the invitation, the judge would receive the appointment at a publicized free community event called the changing of the sash, which occurs some weeks before the parade. The judge would march with similarly appointed aides at the head of the parade and would attend a fund-raising dinner that evening. The judge would not be listed as a guest of honor or speaker and his/her name would not appear on any letters soliciting funds.
Based upon the information supplied by the inquiring judge, the parade is to be considered a community event, not a fund-raising event, since there will be no fund-raising activities engaged in as part of the parade. This inquiry is thus distinguishable from the facts in Opinion 98-49 (Vol. XVI), wherein this Committee advised that a judge should not serve as the grand marshal of a parade, or as a speaker at a rally held after the parade, where the organization sponsoring the event was engaged in fund-raising activities from its booth at the end of the parade route as well as other fund-raising events prior to the parade. Given those differences, we conclude the judge may ethically serve as Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.