An opinion is requested on the propriety of the following political conduct:
May a candidate for judicial office use the word “Conservative” in political advertisements?
Campaign conduct in judicial elections is governed by Canon 4. Subsection (A)(2) of this Canon prohibits candidates from making pledges or promises of conduct in office other than the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of office; from announcing their views on disputed legal or political issues; or from misrepresenting their identities, qualifications, present positions or other facts.
The Code contains no other provisions or restrictions relevant to the question posed. Under somewhat similar circumstances, the Commission, in Opinion No. 90 (October 24, 1990), concluded that it was appropriate and permissible for candidates for a non-partisan judicial office to have in their political literature information concerning their political party affiliation and previous offices held in partisan organizations so long as such information is not used to urge the candidate’s qualifications and election by reason of party affiliation.
Measured by these standards, it would appear that the mere use of the term “Conservative” in a political advertisement would not be inappropriate. Accordingly, the issue posed in your letter must be answered in the affirmative.
[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Canons 4. Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #82, #90, #131, #167, #2B.]