August 11, 1993
Personal and Confidential
Membership in the Dade County
Women's Political Caucus
Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges - Your inquiry dated June 29, 1993
You have written concerning applying for membership in the Dade County Political Woman's Caucus. All nine members of our committee feel that your membership in this organizations would be clearly prohibited. Based on the information you furnished, the Dade County Women's Political Caucus is clearly and strictly political. It is more than a forum for discussion of ideas but an activist organization which recruits candidates and helps them get elected and also lobbies for various laws. It operates a PAC to collect and disburse funds for its chosen causes. One committee member points out the problem for judges when they join organizations that lobby for the benefit of specific gender, ethnic and/or racial groups. Membership in such an organization could signal partiality to such a group.
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).
Very truly yours,
Nath C. Doughtie, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Office of State Court Administrator (name of Judge deleted from this copy)
Participating members: Judges Dell, Doughtie, Farina, Goldstein, Green, Kahn, Patterson, Rushing, Tolton and Edwards, Esq.