May 7, 1992
Digest: A judge may comment to any appropriate body on whether the judge's court should have jurisdiction over a newly proposed proceeding, and on its effect on court congestion and other matters pending in the court.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.4(a) and (b).
A judge has been requested to comment, informally and orally, on whether the judge's court should have jurisdiction over proceedings concerning parental notification for minors seeking abortions. These comments would include opinions concerning court congestion, and the effect the proceedings might have on the other related matters pending in the court. The judge believes that legislation has been proposed on the question of parental notification and that the judge's comments are being solicited in order to help formulate the final bill.
Section 100.4 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides in part:
A judge, subject to the proper performance of his or her judicial duties, may engage in the following quasi-judicial activities, if in doing so 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, and he may otherwise consult with an executive or legislative body or official, but only on matters concerning the administration of justice.
The judge may comment on the parental notification matter to any appropriate body since the judge's comments will be within the parameters permitted by sections 100.4(a) and (b). The judge, however, must avoid creating any doubt as to his or her capacity to decide impartially any issue that may come before the judge, in the event some proposed legislation on the subject matter becomes law.