April 8, 1976
Re: Canon 7
This is in response to your recent inquiry concerning the permissible participation by a candidate for judicial office in "partisan political activities."
The Committee unanimously is of the opinion that your inquiry does not fall within the jurisdiction of this Committee as prescribed in the Order of the Supreme Court dated February 3, 1976, Case No. 48,796. In particular, paragraph 5 of the Order creating this Committee provides, in part, that "The Committee shall render advisory opinions to inquiring judges relating to the propriety of contemplated judicial and non-judicial conduct...".
While it is true that a "candidate" for a judicial office is bound by the provisions of Canon 7 relating to political conduct of "a judge or a candidate for election to judicial office", the authority of this Committee to render advisory opinions is limited to "judges". It might be noted, however, that Attorney General's Opinion 0-72-232, referred to in your inquiry addresses itself to your inquiry and concludes:
A candidate for judicial office may not engage in any activities connected
with a political party; however, he may speak at party executive committee
meetings, rallies, and other political gatherings."
This conclusion was reaffirmed by the Attorney General in his recent letter to you of March 6, 1976 to which your letter also refers.
We appreciate your inquiry and although we are unable to render a definitive advisory opinion because of jurisdictional limitations we trust that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.
Chairman, Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Participating members: Hanlon, Hewitt, Kaney, Mason, Murphee, Stephenson and Thomas MacDonald, Esquire