Opinion 96-41

April 25,1996


Digest:         An association of judges may endorse proposed legislation affecting non-judicial employees of the Unified Court System.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.4(A),(C).


         The president of an association of judges inquires as to whether the association is permitted to address letters to members of the State Legislature affecting retirement benefits of non-judicial employees of the Unified Court System.

         Rule 100.4(A) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides that:


A judge shall conduct all of the judge’s extra-judicial activities so that they do not:


(1) cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge;


(2) detract from the dignity of judicial office;


(3) interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties and are not incompatible with judicial office.

         Subdivision C(1) of section 100.4 states, in part, that “a full-time judge shall not appear at a public hearing before an executive or legislative body or official except on matters concerning the law, the legal system or the administration of justice”. Legislation affecting the deferred compensation of non-judicial employees of the Unified Court System concerns the administration of justice so that it would not be improper for a judge’s association to publicly support proposed legislation in that area.