November 12, 2021
This responds to your inquiry (21-121) asking if you, a full-time judge, may write to members of the county legislature to “emphasize the urgency of completing the needed repairs” to your courthouse and to “encourage them to proceed promptly, perhaps by using some of the [monies that your] county has received from the Federal American Rescue Plan (COVID-19 aid)” in order to do so. You would also like to “encourage” certain other judges in your county to “express support for completion of the repairs.”
A judge may publicly advocate for improved court facilities, and for allocating funds to improve them, as this is a matter concerning the law, the legal system and the administration of justice (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C]; 100.4[C][b][iii]). Accordingly, you may write to legislators on the topics described and may encourage other judges to do so as well.
Enclosed for your convenience is Opinion 14-135 which addresses this issue.
Very truly yours,
Margaret T. Walsh
Supreme Court Justice
Acting Supreme Court Justice