Opinion 81

The Commission has been asked for an Advisory Opinion as to whether it would be inappropriate for a judge to contribute to and attend a dinner of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith honoring the Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives with the “Torch of Liberty Award.”

Rule 3.7(B) provides in part as follows:

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….

. . .

(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.

Rule 4.1(A) in turn states that a judge should not “solicit funds for or pay an assessment or make a contribution to a political organization, or purchase tickets for political party dinners or other functions, except as authorized in Rule 4.1 (B),” which is not herein applicable. The Speaker of the House is certainly a significant political figure and the dinner clearly has political overtones, nevertheless, the Anti-Defamation League is not a political party.

The Commission is of the opinion that it would not be inappropriate for the judge to attend the dinner, nor would it be inappropriate for him to contribute.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 3.7(A)(1), 3.11, 4.1(A), 4.1(B), 4.2(A), 4.2(B). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #1, #23, #36, #83, #108, #118, #124, #147, #165.]

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