The Judicial Qualifications Commission has been asked for an Advisory Opinion as to whether a judge can:
1. Make a financial contribution to the campaign committee of his brother who is a candidate for election to the Georgia House of Representatives;
2. Place a bumper sticker endorsing the candidacy of his brother on his automobile;
3. Place a placard measuring approximately 24 inches by 30 inches on his automobile, which endorses the candidacy of his brother;
4. Go about the county placing signs endorsing the candidacy of his brother in the public right-of-way or on private property;
5. Request individuals to allow signs to be placed on their property which endorse the candidacy of his brother;
6. Place a sign which endorses the candidacy of his brother in the front yard of his home or on other property which he owns;
7. Wear a badge or other emblem on his clothing which endorses the candidacy of his brother; or
8. Make statements either in writing or orally to members of the public which endorse the candidacy of his brother.
Rule 4.1(A) provides in part, as follows:
(A) A judge or a judicial candidate for public election to judicial office shall not: (1) act or hold himself or herself out as a leader or hold any office in a political organization; (2) make speeches for a political organization or candidate or publicly endorse another candidate for public office….
In view of the explicit terms of Rule 4.1(A) set forth above, which prohibits public endorsement, questions (2) through (8) must be answered in the negative.
The first question, however, may be answered in the affirmative, provided the contribution to the candidate is not made in such a way as to constitute a public endorsement.
[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 3.7(A)(1), 3.11, 4.1(A), 4.2(A), 4.2(B). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #1, #23, #36, #81, #83, #108, #118, #124, #141, #165, #191, #209.]