December 19, 2018
This responds to your inquiry (18-142) asking if you may be involved in the selection and appointment process for your co-judge, by, for example, meeting with the appointing authority and/or its advisory committee to discuss candidates for the position; rendering “fact-based opinions regarding candidates for the position”’ and recommending or opposing specific candidates for the position.
We have previously advised that a full time judge may not serve on a mayor’s Committee on the Judiciary, as such service could be perceived as improper involvement in the political process (see Opinions 07-156;94-37; 22 NYCRR 100.5[A]). We have also advised that a town judge may not assist the town board in filling a vacancy for the office of town justice, as such involvement “tends to blur the line separating the municipality’s executive and judicial branches, and it would involve the judge in prohibited political activity” (Opinion 08-14).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 94-37; 08-14; and 07-156 for your review, which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc Justice
Appellate Div., First Dept. (Ret)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court