Opinion: 97-72

June 13, 1997

Digest:  A candidate for town justice who formerly held that elective position, may not state in campaign literature "Vote for Judge (name)" or "Re-elect Judge (name)".

Rules:  22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(4)(a);
            Opinions 94-50 (Vol. XII); 97-18.


            A former elected town justice is now a candidate for the same judicial office in the upcoming election. The judge asks if it is permissible to state in campaign literature "Vote for Judge (name)" or "Re-elect Judge (name)".

            This Committee has previously held that a candidate for a judgeship may not use the term "re-elect", when seeking an office other than one presently occupied. Opinion 94-50 (Vol. XII). This limitation applies even if that candidate was previously elected to the judgeship sought and currently holds the office by appointment. Opinion 97-18 precluded a judge from using the term "re-elect" under such circumstances. A fortiori, the candidate in this inquiry may not use the term "re-elect" in campaign literature.

            As to the term "Vote for Judge (name)", in light of the fact that the candidate is not presently holding any judicial office, it would be a misrepresentation and misleading to the public to imply that the candidate is currently serving as a judge. That claim is inconsistent with maintaining the integrity of the judiciary during a campaign for judicial office as required of all candidates for judicial office by section 100.5(A)(4)(a) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.