Clerk-Magistrate's Attendance at a Political Event

February 28, 2012

Opinion 2012-2

Dear Clerk-Magistrate:

This is in response to your letter of January 31, 2012. You inquire about the following situation. You are the Clerk-Magistrate of the District Court. Your brother is a candidate in an out of state Congressional race. After the polls close on election night, November 6, 2012, you would like to join your brother, probably on stage, with other members of your family and supporters in front of television and print media. You ask whether your participation in this event would be permissible.

We view your request as inquiring whether your attendance at the event would be consistent with the Code of Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Courts, particularly Canon 6, which prohibits Clerks from engaging in political activity. As the Committee noted in Opinion 2011-1 , the restrictions in Canon 6 are intended to preserve the independence and impartiality that underlie all the canons. In the view of the Committee, your attendance at an out of state post election event, with your brother, family and other supporters does not implicate your independence and impartiality as Clerk-Magistrate. It is the Committee's opinion that your participation is permissible under the Code.