Restrictions on political activity of District Court Clerk-Magistrate whose spouse is running for state representative.

May 22, 2000

Opinion 2000-5

Dear

In your letter of April 25, 2000, you inform the Committee that you are the Clerk-Magistrate of the District Court and your husband is running for the office of state representative. You request the Committee's advice "as to whether there are any political activities [you] would be prohibited from participating in during his campaign."

The Committee, established under S.J.C. Rule 3:14, serves to provide advice to Clerks on specific questions relating to their ethical and professional conduct as defined in the Code of Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Courts. Those requesting advice from the Committee are required to "set forth fully all the facts bearing on the question or questions on which the Clerk-Magistrate requests advice." See Advisory Committee Rule 2. S.J.C. Rule 3:14 and the Committee rules (Rule 2) prohibit the Committee from rendering opinions on hypothetical questions.

Because the Committee operates by providing advice in response to a specific, fact-dependent question, we are unable to offer the general guidance which you request. We do, however, direct your attention to Canon 6 of the Code, as well as to the numerous opinions on questions relating to political activity which the Committee has issued over the years.