State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 04-08
In light of CJC Canon 5(F), may a sitting full-time judge serve as a commissioned officer in the military reserves, when the time constraints imposed by that obligation include one weekend a month and two weeks per year?
In light of CJC Canon 5(F), may a sitting full-time judge serve in the military reserves as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps when the military duties include: a) providing legal advice and assistance to individuals for the receipt of those services under federal law; b) providing legal assistance to United States governmental officers who utilize that advice or assistance in the execution of their official duties under federal law?
CJC Canon 5(F) prohibits judges from practicing law. WA const. art IV, § 19 provides that judges of a court of record shall not practice law in any court in this state during the continuance of office. GR 24(b)(9) defines the practice of law but excludes any activities that are preempted by federal law. A military lawyer who is stationed within Washington State is not required to be a member of the Washington Bar in order to perform their military responsibilities. APR 8(g) provides for a limited special admission for military lawyers but that rule specifically provides that military lawyers may not represent themselves as members of the Washington Bar even if they have been granted special admission status.
A judge may serve as an officer of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps without violating WA const. art. IV, § 19 and therefore is not in violation of CJC Canon 5(F). The judge, while performing functions for the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, must confine that conduct to those activities authorized for officers of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
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