July 17, 1992


Opinion No. 92-26
Canon 7
Judge or Judicial Candidate at Political Rally

Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges - Your inquiry dated May 21, 1992

You inquire whether you as a non-partisan judicial candidate, may , by invitation, attend and speak at democratic party political "speakings" or rallies.

The committee unanimously agreed you may accept the invitation to attend and speak at these functions provided all other candidates for the judicial position are invited. Further, you must request the moderator to announce at the outset you are a non-partisan candidate for judge. Your presence should be interpreted neither as an endorsement of any other candidated for public office. You must emphasize you are there on your own behalf. If the moderator fails to make the above disclaimers, then you, the candidate, must do so. This preserves the necessary non-partisan posture judges and candidates for judicial office must strive to maintain, while at the same time addressing the realities of conducting a campaign in certain areas of our State

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).

With regards, I remain,

Yours very truly,

Jere Tolton, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

JT/mc

cc: All Committee Members

Participating members: Judges Tolton, Green, Levy, Booth, Dell, Doughtie, Goldstein, Farina, Rushing and Clarke, Esq.

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
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, Chairman, Ethics Advisory panel of the Judicial Conference of the United States .
Cynthia Grey, Director, American Judicature Society
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Ms. Joan D. Cannon, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida
William D. Wilkinson, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. Thomas H. Barkdull, Jr. , Third District Court of Appeal
Lynda Glyman, Esq. Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association
Hon. Charles McClure, Chief Judge, Second Judicial Circuit
Office of State Court Administrator, Legal Affairs & Education