Opinion 23-65

Short-Form Opinion


June 15, 2023



Question:    May a part-time judge who is also employed with a school district be a member of the Classified Employees Association and United Teachers unions, given that these unions are active in politics? 


Discussion:  We have said that a judge may be active in a union, subject to the appropriate legal restrictions and limitations articulated in the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. As a member, the judge may attend union meetings and generally participate in union activities that do not conflict with the law. The inquiring judge must, however, avoid even the appearance of impropriety (see 22 NYCRR 100.2) and must take care to avoid casting reasonable doubt on his or her capacity to act impartially as a judge, detracting from the dignity of judicial office, or allowing union membership to interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[A][1]-[3]). These obligations may thus limit the judge’s personal involvement in certain union activities that are political or compel recusal from certain cases.


Enclosed:    Opinions 14-188; 12-81; 11-17; 06-141; 04-105; 93-07.