September 6, 1983
Opinion No. 83/11
Judge accepting award
This is in response to your letter of August 19, 1983. Your inquiry is whether you may properly accept and award for your services to the Jewish Community. The synagogue is at the same time conducting a State of Israel Bonds Drive. The solicitation for the purchase of the bonds is to be made prior to the presentation of the award. You would not directly participate in the solicitation for the purchase of the bonds.
Of the eight members of the committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges responding, all were unanimous that there is no impropriety in your accepting the award. In general, the committee felt that such awards are usually given on an annual basis. The public is aware that every year some person is selected to be the recipient of such an award. This year it happens to be a judge - next year perhaps an educator, the following year a doctor or a journalist. This cannot, therefore, be regarded as an attempt to trade on the prestige of the judicial office. The public will not look on your acceptance of the award as an endorsement of the bond drive.
Several members added the caveat that you scrupulously avoid giving the impression that you are in any way connected with the fund drive. As one member put it, he was confident you could speak with your host to ensure that the ceremony would be conducted in such a fashion as not to confuse the judge's involvement. That member went on to suggest that the solicitation activities and the award be conducted separately and distinctly, with the judge being absent from the podium, stage, or head table during the fund soliciting portion of the program.
James T. Carlisle
Chairman, Committee on Standards
of Conduct Governing Judges