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Opinion 138

The Commission has been asked for an opinion as to whether it would be appropriate for a judge to serve on an endorsement committee for a proposed organization to be known as “Christians For A Drug Free Atlanta.”

Rule 3.7(B)(1) expressly provides that “[j]udges may serve as officers, directors, trustees, or non-legal advisors of educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organizations not conducted for the economic or political advantage of their members,” subject to a number of inapplicable limitations.

Further, subsection (2) provides “[j]udges shall not personally solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of their office for that purpose, but they may be listed as officers, directors, or trustees of such organizations.”

In Opinion No. 24, the Commission has concluded that the listing of a judge’s name on a letter soliciting funds would to some extent by an improper use of the prestige of his office, particularly if the judge is identified as a judge or is known to be a judge by the recipients of the appeal for funds. See Opinion No. 133 to the same effect.

For this reason, the Commission has concluded that while it would be entirely appropriate for a judge to serve as a member of such an endorsement committee she should not permit her name to be used in connection with the solicitation of funds for the organization.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 2.4(B), 3.7(B). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #15, #17, #37, #43, #117, #133, #138, #139, #145, #146, #161, #164, #186.]

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