August 13, 2018
This responds to your inquiry (18-107) asking if you may accept an invitation from the US State Department, on behalf of an overseas embassy, to participate in a program designed to promote the integration of women belonging to a certain religious group in the overseas host country and also to promote gender-equality and women’s rights.
The program you describe appears not to promote or affiliate with any political candidate or party nor address matters of substantial public and political controversy within the meaning of the Committee’s prior Opinions and the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct (see e.g. 22 NYCRR 100.2[D]). Rather, as part of the program, you will address voluntary expansion of opportunities for women in a specific religious community or tradition in the host country. Thus, participation in this program is ethically permissible.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 17-70; 15-133; 15-125 and 16-179 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court