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Opinion 73

An Advisory Opinion has been requested as to whether it is appropriate for a judge to serve on the Advisory Committee of the Citizens for Better Libraries for Atlanta. The representation is made that the judge will not be asked to help solicit funds for the cause, but that his name will be used in various endorsements of the bond referendum. It appears from the question that the primary purpose of the advisory committee is educational and the public welfare, but it has secondary political overtones and an indicated secondary purpose to raise funds in support of the library cause.


In Rule 3.7, it is provided:

(B) Judges may participate in educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic activities that do not reflect adversely upon their impartiality or interfere with the performance of their judicial duties.

(1) Judges 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 the following limitations:

. . .

(2) Judges 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.


Thus, Rule 3.7 expressly authorizes a judge to serve as a member of a civic or educational organization, not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members, but a judge may not solicit funds for the organization or permit the use of his name or the prestige of his office for this purpose. For that reason, while the judge may serve on the advisory committee of the Citizens for Better Libraries of Atlanta under the representations made, he should exercise very great care to be sure that this prohibition is in fact not violated.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 1.3, 3.7(B)(2). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #15, #37, #74, #105, #138, #139, #161.]

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