March 20, 1990

Opinion No. 90/10
Canon 3A(6), 4A, 4B
Publicly speaking on single member districts

Dear Judge

You have asked the Commission for an advisory opinion as to the propriety of publicly speaking in opposition to the creation of single member districts from which judges would be elected.

A majority of the Committee has considered your inquiry and has concluded that you may publicly speak on the subject of single member districts because of the proposal's effect upon the administration of justice. The Committee, however, adds the caveat that you must exercise great care in commenting upon this matter because of inherent socio-political concerns.

Three members of the Committee have expressed concern arising from Canon 3A(6); single member districts is the subject of pending litigation in a federal court.

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).

Cordially yours,

Richard H. Frank, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

cc: All Committee Members

Participating Members: Judges Green, Tolton, Goldstein, Dell, Booth, Doughtie,Frank, Simons, and Clarke, Esquire.

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
Judson Orrick, Managing Editor, The Florida Bar Journal
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, Chairman, Ethics Advisory Panel of the Judicial Conference of the United States .
Deborah Solomon, American Judicature Society
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Mr. Brian Polley, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida
Mr. Richard Kuhn, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. Thomas H . Barkdull , Jr ., Third District Court of Appeal
Lynda Glyman, Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association