An opinion is requested on the propriety of the following political conduct:
Is it appropriate for a candidate for Judge of the Superior Court to participate in and actually vote at a meeting of a county political party committee called to elect his replacement as committee chairman after publicly announcing his resignation in order to seek the judicial position?
As defined in the “Terminology Section” of the Code of Judicial Conduct, a “candidate” is a “person seeking selection for … judicial office by election. . . . a person becomes a candidate for judicial office as soon as he or she makes a public announcement of candidacy …” or has made the decision to run for office. (Opinion No. 124, paragraph 3, July 29, 1988.)
Rule 4.1(A)(1) provides: A judge or a judicial candidate shall not “act or hold himself or herself out as a leader or hold any office in a political organization.” Opinion No. 165 (April 24, 1992) expressly holds that a judge or candidate for a judicial position may not continue to serve on a county political committee even if such individual is not an officer of that committee.
Measured by these standards, the issue posed must be answered in the negative.
The Commission reminds all candidates, including incumbent judges, of the Applicability provisions of Rule 4.6, and urges full and immediate compliance with the requirements of this Opinion.
[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Canons 7(A), 7(C). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #90, #108, #124, #129, #165.]