State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 95-14
May a judicial officer join the League of Women Voters?
CJC Canon 5(B) permits judicial officers to participate in civic activities which do not reflect adversely upon their impartiality or interfere with the performance of their judicial duties. Canon 7(A) restricts the political activities of judicial officers by providing that they may not: 1) hold office in a political organization; 2) make speeches for a political organization or nonjudicial candidate, attend political gatherings, or purchase tickets for political party dinners or other functions; and 3) engage in any other political activities except on behalf of measures to improve the law, the legal system or the administration of justice.
The League of Women Voters engages in political activities, that is, it endorses and opposes ballot measures that are concerned with matters unrelated to the improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice. It is therefore inappropriate for a judicial officer to be a member of the League of Women Voters because the judicial officer cannot be distinguished from the position that the League of Women Voters takes in matters unrelated to the law.
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