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Opinion

Opinion CJE Opinion No. 2005-1

Date: 01/05/2005
Organization: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

The following is an archived advisory opinion of the Committee on Judicial Ethics (CJE) from the time period of 1989 through 2014, and the Code of Judicial Conduct that was in effect from October 1, 2003 to December 31, 2015. Archived advisory opinions also include the Code that was in effect through September 30, 2003. The Supreme Judicial Court adopted a new Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct, effective on January 1, 2016. A judge should not rely on any pre- 2016 CJE Advisory Opinion without contacting Supreme Judicial Court Senior Attorney Barbara F. Berenson, counsel to the Committee on Judicial Ethics, at Barbara.Berenson@jud.state.ma.us or 617- 557-1048.

Using Court Stationery for Letter of Recommendation to Judicial Nominating Commission

You have asked this committee for advice on whether the Code of Judicial Conduct permits you to write a letter of recommendation on court stationery to the Judicial Nominating Commission in behalf of a candidate for a judicial position. You have satisfied yourself that it is permissible to write the letter in the circumstances -- see generally CJE Opinions 94-1 and 95-9 and Section 2 B of the Code of Judicial Conduct (effective October 1, 2003) and the related commentary -- and you seek advice only about whether you may do so on your official stationery.

The committee is of the opinion that you may write such a letter on your official stationery. No conceivable advantage would flow to you personally from use of the stationery. Moreover, it is quite likely that the position you hold is already known to the Judicial Nominating Commission or, if it is not, will be revealed either in the candidate's application or during the course of the interview process. Finally, your experience as a judge inevitably will inform the recommendation you make and, thus, is of relevance to those who are charged with the selection of candidates for judicial office.

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