State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 06-09
May an appellate judge sit on a case decided by a trial court judge who has publicly supported the appellate court judge in a contested election?
Trial court judges have publicly endorsed and contributed money to appellate court judges who have been elected following contested elections.
CJC Canon 7(A) governs those political activities in which a judge or candidate for election to a judicial office may engage as well as those activities which are prohibited. Canon 7(A) in relevant part provides that judges may not make speeches for nonjudicial candidates or publicly support a nonjudicial candidate (7(A)(1)(b)), solicit funds for a nonjudicial candidate (7(A)(1)(c)), attend political party functions except as authorized by CJC Canon 7(A)(2) and may not contribute to a nonjudicial candidate. CJC Canon 7(A)(2) provides in part that during judicial campaigns, judges or candidates for election to judicial office may attend political gatherings and speak to those gatherings on their own behalf or that of another judicial candidate. Finally, CJC Canon 7(A)(3) provides that judges may contribute to, but shall not solicit funds for another judicial candidate.
Also see Opinions 88-13 and 93-25.
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