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Opinion 39

The Judicial Qualifications Commission has been requested to render its opinion concerning the propriety, under the Code of Judicial Conduct, of a lawyer becoming a candidate for judicial office while holding the office of mayor of a municipality.

While Canon 7(A)(3) directs that:

A judge should resign his office when he becomes a candidate either in a party primary or in a general election for a non-judicial office . . .,

there is no express provision in the Code which specifically prohibits a person holding a non-judicial public office from at the same time being a candidate for a judicial office. However, Canon 4 applies both to judges and to candidates for judicial office and it is our view that if it would be improper for a judge to be a candidate for a non-judicial office, it would appear as a reasonable conclusion therefore that a person who is a candidate for judicial office should not hold a non-judicial office which it would be improper for him to hold in the event he is elected as judge.

The mayor of a city acts in an executive as well as in most cases a legislative capacity, and it would seem that it would be incompatible for a judge to hold such an office.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Canon 1, Rules 3.4, 3.7(A)(2), 4.1(A), 4.1(B), 4.2(A), 4.2(B). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #26, #29, #118, #196.]

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