2012-21 (July 20, 2012)
Event, attendance/appearance; Political Activity;
Rules 1.2, 4.1
Issue: May a Judicial Official and his or her spouse attend a small gathering at the home of a relative so
that a retiring political official can thank the hosts and guests (other than the Judicial Official) for their prior support. There will be no
fundraising and there is no charge to attend.
The political official does not have and is not
likely to be engaged in proceedings that would
ordinarily come before the Judicial Official, the
court of which the Judicial Official is a member or
a court that is subject to the appellate
jurisdiction, if any, of the court on which the
Judicial Official serves.
Response: Rule 4.1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct prescribes general guidelines limiting the involvement by judges with
political activities. The Committee unanimously agreed that attendance at the event by the Judicial Official would not violate Rule 4.1,
because the event is sponsored by a family member and is not “sponsored by a political organization or a candidate for public office”
(Rule 4.1(a)(5)), because the event is not a fundraiser (Rule 4.1(a)(4)), and because the event does not involve a public official who
is running for office or who has any matter before or is likely to come before the inquiring Judicial Official. The Committee further
determined that there is no restriction on the Judicial Official’s spouse’s attendance and that the Judicial Official may attend
provided that he or she does not personally believe that attendance as a guest would create an appearance of impropriety in violation of Rule 1.2.