November 3, 1987
In your letter of June 16, 1987, your asked the Committee on Standards of Judicial Conduct for their opinion as to the propriety of a judge to appear before a political function, be it Republican or Democratic, for the purpose of discussion the function of the Courts, and answering any legitimate questions and concerns about our Curt system.
I am sending you a copy of Committee Opinion 74/3, which I believe answers your question. Nine of ten members of the Committee responded to your inquiry and the decision was unanimous that the activities outlined in your letter are proscribed by Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
Two members did express reservations about such restrictions of this nature, but because of recent Supreme Court decisions each member agreed with the majority of the Committee.
We have based our opinion on the information furnished in your letter. The committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting a judge or judicial candidate. Its opinions are advisory to the inquiring party, to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and to the judiciary at large. Conduct that is consistent with an advisory opinion issued by the committee may be evidence of good faith on the part of the judge, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions issued by the committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct for Judges 327 So2d 5 (Fla. 1976).
We appreciate your inquiry and trust that the foregoing information will be of some assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
George W. Tedder, Jr.
cc: All Committee Members
Participating members: Judges Blanchard, Booth, Dell, Frank, Goldstein,
Green, Shutter, Tedder and Attorney F. Shields McManus
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
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, 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