State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 00-03
May a judicial officer publicly support a bond levy which will fund seismic retrofitting of a courthouse?
Studies have shown the county courthouse is unsafe when there is a major seismic event. This condition potentially jeopardizes hundreds of staff, litigants, jurors, witnesses and others who regularly use the facility. There is a planned election to fund a levy to fund retrofitting of the courthouse. Judges would like to publicly support this levy.
CJC Canon 7(A)(5) provides that judges should not engage in any political activity except on behalf of measures to improve the law, the legal system or the administration of justice.
A bond levy to fund the seismic retrofitting of a courthouse clearly is on behalf of a measure to improve the administration of justice and therefore, is permitted by CJC Canon 7(A)(5).
Also see Opinions 91-20, 92-5, 92-6, 95-3 and In Re Staples, 105 Wn.2d 905, 719 P.2d 558 (1985).
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