State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 13-03
Judges are mandatory dues paying members of the WSBA, paying $50 per year. All Bar members can request a deduction from their dues under Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1(1990), for the portion tied to advocacy activities. According to the WSBA Web site, the Keller deduction for $50 dues is $.98 for judicial members and less than $10 annually for part-time judicial officers who are full Bar members.Answer
CJC 1.2 provides in relevant part that a judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid the appearance of impropriety. The fact that a judge does not act to invoke the Keller deduction does not call a judicial officer's impartiality into question because a judicial officer is required to be a judicial member of the WSBA, and a judicial officer has no control over, or involvement in, the WSBA's advocacy activities. In addition, the amount of money from judicial members dues that is attributed to Keller activities is so small that it is de minimis and therefore, does not undermine the public confidence in the judiciary.
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