Joint Opinion: 97-118 and 97-122
October 16, 1997
Digest: A judicial candidate for reelection who is unopposed on the ballot, may engage in certain political activity permitted under section 100.5 of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.5; Opinion 89-05 (Vol. III )
Two part-time judges raise the same question concerning permissible political activity. Both are running unopposed for re-election and seek the opinion of the Committee as to whether that fact precludes their engaging in the political activity that is permissible for candidates under section 100.5 of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, e.g., appearing with the other candidates in door-to-door campaigning.
The committee sees no ethical barrier to the candidates appearing in public or at gatherings with the other candidates on the slate. By their terms, the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not prohibit unopposed candidates from engaging in the kinds of political activity that are specifically made allowable in section 100.5. Thus, as a general rule, the candidate who is unopposed on the ballot may still participate in the electoral process. However, there may be limitations in certain areas, such as post-election fund-raising (see Opinion 89-05[Vol. III), but such issues are not presently before the Committee.