June 23, 2015
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
This responds to your inquiry (15-118) asking whether a full-time justice may accept an invitation to become a member of a non-profit organization, the primary purposes of which are to promote the culture of a particular religion and social action through “festivals, holiday celebrations, educational programs, social and economic justice campaigns.”
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct permit a judge to “hold membership in an organization that is dedicated to the preservation of religious, ethnic, cultural or other values of legitimate common interest to its members” (22NYCRR 100.2[D]), but the judge must refrain from fund-raising activities (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][I]; [iv]).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 09-146 and 99-83 and 97-19 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)