April 26, 2017
This responds to your inquiry (17-20) asking whether a part-time city court judge may serve on the nominating committee for his/her house of worship.
A judge must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all the judge’s activities (see 22 NYCRR 100.2). To that end, a judge “shall not use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for membership solicitation” (22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][iv]). Accordingly, recruitment from members of the general public to serve on a Board of Directors is impermissible under the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, but recruitment from among existing members of an organization to leadership positions within the organization is ethically permissible.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 09-57 and 98-119 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court