October 12, 1984
Opinion No. 84/22
You inquire whether, under Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct and Section 105.071(1), Florida Statutes, a candidate for judicial office can do any of the following:
1. Participate in an endorsement interview session held by the County Democratic Executive Committee and open to all candidates;
2. Participate in a rating interview session held by the County Democratic Executive Committee and open to all candidates;
3. Publicize an endorsement which is the result of the endorsement interview session open to all candidates and held by the County Democratic Executive Committee; and
4. Publicize a rating which is the result of a rating interview session open to all candidates and held by the County Democratic Executive Committee.
The Committee is closely divided on some of these questions and on the necessarily related question of attendance at a partisan political function. Half of the membership has voted that, in view of Section 105.071(1), the candidate for judicial office may not attend a partisan political function; the other half believes that the candidate may attend, but with limitations on what may be said or done by the candidate.
The majority of the Committee (6/4) has voted that the judicial candidate should not participate in an endorsement or rating interview session sponsored by a partisan political group such as the County Democratic Executive Committee. (One member who votes affirmatively does so only if the interview is limited to the candidate's qualifications and major problems confronting the judiciary.)
The Committee unanimously votes that any rating or endorsement which results from the interview may not be publicized by the candidate.
The four questions are, therefore, answered in the negative.
The Committee thanks you for your inquiry and hopes that this response will be of assistance to you.
The Committee wishes to thank you for your inquiry and hopes this response has been of assistance to you.
Anne C. Booth, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
All reference to the inquiring judge is deleted from the copies sent to the following individuals.
Mr. Sid White, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Florida
Linda Yates, Managing Editor, The Florida Bar Journal
Mark Hulsey, Esq., Chairman, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Howard T. Markey, Chairman, Ethics Advisory Panel of the Judicial Conference of the United States .
Jeffrey M. Shaman, Esquire, Director, Center for Judicial Conduct Organizations
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Mr. Brian Polley, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida
Participating members: Judges Booth, Carlisle, Dell, Green, Grube, Hewitt,
Letts, Tedder, and
Turner, and Attorney Samuel J. Powers, Jr.