State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 95-07
May a judicial officer address the county chapter of the Federation of Republican Women, a private non-profit club which is not affiliated with nor financially supported by the Republican party at any level, but, which the name implies, exits for the purpose of supporting Republican candidates for political office and the promotion of Republication Party interests generally?
The address would be limited to a generic explanation of the role of the judiciary, the problems it deals with and faces, and the dispute resolution process in general; i.e. the typical civic organization speech. The judge would not answer any questions involving issues that might come before the judge, endorse any candidate or group of candidates, legislation or propositions that might be the subject of voter action.
The judge would not be present for any portion of any business meeting. The members of the organization would be informed of the judge’s address by flyer beforehand, but there would be no announcement to the general public.
Based on the representations outlined above, the Code of Judicial Conduct does not prohibit a judge from addressing the county chapter of Federation of Republican Women.
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