Opinion 90-16

March 1, 1990


Digest:         A part-time judge is entitled to express his/her opinion publicly as to the need for an additional judgeship.


Rules:          22 NYCRR §100.4 and 100.7


         A part-time judge, who is not a candidate for office, inquires whether he/she may actively oppose a resolution adopted by a local municipal board, which would create the position of another judgeship, subject to a public referendum.

         Section 100.7 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts provides in part:


No judge during a term of office shall hold any office in a political party or organization or contribute to any political party or political campaign or take part in any political campaign except his or her own campaign for elective judicial office.

         Section 100.4 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides:


A judge, subject to the proper performance of his or her judicial duties, may engage in the following quasi-judicial duties, if in so doing the judge does not cause doubt on the capacity to decide impartially any issue that may come before him or her:


(a) A judge may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.


(b) A judge may appear at a public hearing before an executive or legislative body or official on matters concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.... [Emphasis supplied].

         As the referendum concerns an issue relating to the legal system and the administration of justice, rather than a political campaign for office, the judge may publicly express his/her opposition to the creation of an additional judgeship and may urge voters of the community to reject the resolution at a public referendum.