P:\share\ogc\deyling\codes -- aba project\code -- final--effective july 1-09.wpd
This Code applies to United States circuit judges, district judges, Court of International
Trade judges, Court of Federal Claims judges, bankruptcy judges, and magistrate judges. Certain provisions of this Code apply to special masters and commissioners as indicated in the“Compliance” section. The Tax Court, Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and Court ofAppeals for the Armed Forces have adopted this Code.
The Judicial Conference has authorized its Committee on Codes of Conduct to render
advisory opinions about this Code only when requested by a judge to whom this Code applies. Requests for opinions and other questions2 concerning this Code and its applicability should beaddressed to the Chair of the Committee on Codes of Conduct by email or as follows:
Chair, Committee on Codes of Conductc/o General CounselAdministrative Office of the United States CourtsThurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary BuildingOne Columbus Circle, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20544
1 The Code of Conduct for United States Judges was initially adopted by the JudicialConference on April 5, 1973, and was known as the “Code of Judicial Conduct for United StatesJudges.” Since then, the Judicial Conference has made the following changes to the Code:
deleted the word “Judicial” from the name of the Code;
adopted substantial revisions to the Code;
revised part C of the Compliance section, immediately followingthe Code;
adopted substantial revisions to the Code.
2 Procedural questions may be addressed to: Office of the General Counsel, AdministrativeOffice of the United States Courts, Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, Washington,D.C., 20544, 202-502-1100.
A JUDGE SHOULD UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE
OF THE JUDICIARY
An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A
judge should maintain and enforce high standards of conduct and should personally observethose standards, so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved. Theprovisions of this Code should be construed and applied to further that objective.
Deference to the judgments and rulings of courts depends on public confidence in the
integrity and independence of judges. The integrity and independence of judges depend in turnon their acting without fear or favor. Although judges should be independent, they must complywith the law and should comply with this Code. Adherence to this responsibility helps tomaintain public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary. Conversely, violation of thisCode diminishes public confidence in the judiciary and injures our system of government underlaw.
The Canons are rules of reason. They should be applied consistently with constitutional
requirements, statutes, other court rules and decisional law, and in the context of all relevantcircumstances. The Code is to be construed so it does not impinge on the essential independenceof judges in making judicial decisions.
The Code is designed to provide guidance to judges and nominees for judicial office. It
may also provide standards of conduct for application in proceedings under the Judicial CouncilsReform and Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 (28 U.S.C. §§ 332(d)(1), 351-364). Notevery violation of the Code should lead to disciplinary action. Whether disciplinary action isappropriate, and the degree of discipline, should be determined through a reasonable applicationof the text and should depend on such factors as the seriousness of the improper activity, theintent of the judge, whether there is a pattern of improper activity, and the effect of the improperactivity on others or on the judicial system. Many of the restrictions in the Code are necessarilycast in general terms, and judges may reasonably differ in their interpretation. Furthermore, theCode is not designed or intended as a basis for civil liability or criminal prosecution. Finally, theCode is not intended to be used for tactical advantage.
A JUDGE SHOULD AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE
OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL ACTIVITIES
Respect for Law.
A judge should respect and comply with the law and should act at alltimes in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of thejudiciary.
A judge should not allow family, social, political, financial, or otherrelationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. A judge should neither lend theprestige of the judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others norconvey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position toinfluence the judge. A judge should not testify voluntarily as a character witness.
A judge should not hold membership in anyorganization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, ornational origin.
An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with
knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would concludethat the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge isimpaired. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct byjudges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. This prohibitionapplies to both professional and personal conduct. A judge must expect to be the subject ofconstant public scrutiny and accept freely and willingly restrictions that might be viewed asburdensome by the ordinary citizen. Because it is not practicable to list all prohibited acts, theprohibition is necessarily cast in general terms that extend to conduct by judges that is harmfulalthough not specifically mentioned in the Code. Actual improprieties under this standardinclude violations of law, court rules, or other specific provisions of this Code.
Testimony as a character witness injects the prestige of the judicial office
into the proceeding in which the judge testifies and may be perceived as an official testimonial. A judge should discourage a party from requiring the judge to testify as a character witnessexcept in unusual circumstances when the demands of justice require. This Canon does notcreate a privilege against testifying in response to an official summons.
A judge should avoid lending the prestige of judicial office to advance the private
interests of the judge or others. For example, a judge should not use the judge’s judicial positionor title to gain advantage in litigation involving a friend or a member of the judge’s family. Incontracts for publication of a judge’s writings, a judge should retain control over the advertisingto avoid exploitation of the judge’s office.
A judge should be sensitive to possible abuse of the prestige of office. A judge should
not initiate communications to a sentencing judge or a probation or corrections officer but mayprovide information to such persons in response to a formal request. Judges may participate inthe process of judicial selection by cooperating with appointing authorities and screeningcommittees seeking names for consideration and by responding to official inquiries concerning aperson being considered for a judgeship.
Membership of a judge in an organization that practices invidious
discrimination gives rise to perceptions that the judge’s impartiality is impaired. Canon 2Crefers to the current practices of the organization. Whether an organization practices invidiousdiscrimination is often a complex question to which judges should be sensitive. The answercannot be determined from a mere examination of an organization’s current membership rollsbut rather depends on how the organization selects members and other relevant factors, such asthat the organization is dedicated to the preservation of religious, ethnic or cultural values oflegitimate common interest to its members, or that it is in fact and effect an intimate, purelyprivate organization whose membership limitations could not be constitutionally prohibited. SeeNew York State Club Ass’n. Inc. v. City of New York
, 487 U.S. 1, 108 S. Ct. 2225, 101 L. Ed.
2d 1 (1988); Board of Directors of Rotary International v. Rotary Club of Duarte
, 481 U.S. 537,107 S. Ct. 1940, 95 L. Ed. 2d 474 (1987); Roberts v. United States Jaycees
, 468 U.S. 609, 104S. Ct. 3244, 82 L. Ed. 2d 462 (1984). Other relevant factors include the size and nature of theorganization and the diversity of persons in the locale who might reasonably be consideredpotential members. Thus the mere absence of diverse membership does not by itself demonstratea violation unless reasonable persons with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances wouldexpect that the membership would be diverse in the absence of invidious discrimination. Absentsuch factors, an organization is generally said to discriminate invidiously if it arbitrarily excludesfrom membership on the basis of race, religion, sex, or national origin persons who wouldotherwise be admitted to membership.
Although Canon 2C relates only to membership in organizations that invidiously
discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion or national origin, a judge’s membership in anorganization that engages in any invidiously discriminatory membership practices prohibited byapplicable law violates Canons 2 and 2A and gives the appearance of impropriety. In addition, itwould be a violation of Canons 2 and 2A for a judge to arrange a meeting at a club that the judgeknows practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin inits membership or other policies, or for the judge to use such a club regularly. Moreover, publicmanifestation by a judge of the judge’s knowing approval of invidious discrimination on anybasis gives the appearance of impropriety under Canon 2 and diminishes public confidence in theintegrity and impartiality of the judiciary, in violation of Canon 2A.
When a judge determines that an organization to which the judge belongs engages in
invidious discrimination that would preclude membership under Canon 2C or under Canons 2and 2A, the judge is permitted, in lieu of resigning, to make immediate and continuous efforts tohave the organization discontinue its invidiously discriminatory practices. If the organizationfails to discontinue its invidiously discriminatory practices as promptly as possible (and in allevents within two years of the judge’s first learning of the practices), the judge should resignimmediately from the organization.
A JUDGE SHOULD PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE OFFICE FAIRLY,
IMPARTIALLY AND DILIGENTLY
The duties of judicial office take precedence over all other activities. In performing the
duties prescribed by law, the judge should adhere to the following standards:
A judge should be faithful to, and maintain professional competence in, the lawand should not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.
A judge should hear and decide matters assigned, unless disqualified, and shouldmaintain order and decorum in all judicial proceedings.
A judge should be patient, dignified, respectful, and courteous to litigants, jurors,witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity.
A judge should require similar conduct of those subject to the judge’s control,including lawyers to the extent consistent with their role in the adversary process.
A judge should accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding,and that person’s lawyer, the full right to be heard according to law. Except as setout below, a judge should not initiate, permit, or consider ex partecommunications or consider other communications concerning a pending orimpending matter that are made outside the presence of the parties or theirlawyers. If a judge receives an unauthorized ex parte communication bearing onthe substance of a matter, the judge should promptly notify the parties of thesubject matter of the communication and allow the parties an opportunity torespond, if requested. A judge may:
(a) initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications as authorized by law;
(b) when circumstances require it, permit ex parte communication for scheduling,administrative, or emergency purposes, but only if the ex parte communicationdoes not address substantive matters and the judge reasonably believes that noparty will gain a procedural, substantive, or tactical advantage as a result of the exparte communication;
(c) obtain the written advice of a disinterested expert on the law, but only aftergiving advance notice to the parties of the person to be consulted and the subjectmatter of the advice and affording the parties reasonable opportunity to object andrespond to the notice and to the advice received; or
(d) with the consent of the parties, confer separately with the parties and theircounsel in an effort to mediate or settle pending matters.
A judge should dispose promptly of the business of the court.
A judge should not make public comment on the merits of a matter pending orimpending in any court. A judge should require similar restraint by courtpersonnel subject to the judge’s direction and control. The prohibition on publiccomment on the merits does not extend to public statements made in the course ofthe judge’s official duties, to explanations of court procedures, or to scholarlypresentations made for purposes of legal education.
A judge should diligently discharge administrative responsibilities, maintainprofessional competence in judicial administration, and facilitate the performanceof the administrative responsibilities of other judges and court personnel.
A judge should not direct court personnel to engage in conduct on the judge’sbehalf or as the judge’s representative when that conduct would contravene theCode if undertaken by the judge.
A judge should exercise the power of appointment fairly and only on the basis ofmerit, avoiding unnecessary appointments, nepotism, and favoritism. A judgeshould not approve compensation of appointees beyond the fair value of servicesrendered.
A judge with supervisory authority over other judges should take reasonablemeasures to ensure that they perform their duties timely and effectively.
A judge should take appropriate action upon learning of reliable evidenceindicating the likelihood that a judge’s conduct contravened this Code or a lawyerviolated applicable rules of professional conduct.
A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’simpartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited toinstances in which:
(a) the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personalknowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;
(b) the judge served as a lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer withwhom the judge previously practiced law served during such association as alawyer concerning the matter, or the judge or lawyer has been a material witness;
(c) the judge knows that the judge, individually or as a fiduciary, or the judge’sspouse or minor child residing in the judge’s household, has a financial interest inthe subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any otherinterest that could be affected substantially by the outcome of the proceeding;
(d) the judge or the judge’s spouse, or a person related to either within the thirddegree of relationship, or the spouse of such a person is:
(i) a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party;
(ii) acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;
(iii) known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantiallyaffected by the outcome of the proceeding; or
(iv) to the judge’s knowledge likely to be a material witness in theproceeding;
(e) the judge has served in governmental employment and in that capacityparticipated as a judge (in a previous judicial position), counsel, advisor, ormaterial witness concerning the proceeding or has expressed an opinionconcerning the merits of the particular case in controversy.
A judge should keep informed about the judge’s personal and fiduciary financialinterests and make a reasonable effort to keep informed about the personalfinancial interests of the judge’s spouse and minor children residing in the judge’shousehold.
(a) the degree of relationship is calculated according to the civil law system; thefollowing relatives are within the third degree of relationship: parent, child,grandparent, grandchild, great grandparent, great grandchild, sister, brother, aunt,uncle, niece, and nephew; the listed relatives include whole and half bloodrelatives and most step relatives;
(b) “fiduciary” includes such relationships as executor, administrator, trustee, andguardian;
(c) “financial interest” means ownership of a legal or equitable interest, howeversmall, or a relationship as director, advisor, or other active participant in theaffairs of a party, except that:
(i) ownership in a mutual or common investment fund that holdssecurities is not a “financial interest” in such securities unless the judgeparticipates in the management of the fund;
(ii) an office in an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civicorganization is not a “financial interest” in securities held by theorganization;
(iii) the proprietary interest of a policyholder in a mutual insurancecompany, or a depositor in a mutual savings association, or a similarproprietary interest, is a “financial interest” in the organization only if theoutcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of theinterest;
(iv) ownership of government securities is a “financial interest” in theissuer only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect thevalue of the securities;
(d) “proceeding” includes pretrial, trial, appellate review, or other stages oflitigation.
Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this Canon, if a judge would bedisqualified because of a financial interest in a party (other than an interest thatcould be substantially affected by the outcome), disqualification is not required ifthe judge (or the judge’s spouse or minor child) divests the interest that providesthe grounds for disqualification.
Remittal of Disqualification.
Instead of withdrawing from the proceeding, a judgedisqualified by Canon 3C(1) may, except in the circumstances specifically set out insubsections (a) through (e), disclose on the record the basis of disqualification. Thejudge may participate in the proceeding if, after that disclosure, the parties and theirlawyers have an opportunity to confer outside the presence of the judge, all agree inwriting or on the record that the judge should not be disqualified, and the judge is thenwilling to participate. The agreement should be incorporated in the record of theproceeding.
The duty to hear all proceedings fairly and with patience is not
inconsistent with the duty to dispose promptly of the business of the court. Courts can beefficient and businesslike while being patient and deliberate.
The duty under Canon 2 to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the
integrity and impartiality of the judiciary applies to all the judge’s activities, including thedischarge of the judge’s adjudicative and administrative responsibilities. The duty to berespectful includes the responsibility to avoid comment or behavior that could reasonably beinterpreted as harassment, prejudice or bias.
The restriction on ex parte communications concerning a proceeding
includes communications from lawyers, law teachers, and others who are not participants in theproceeding. A judge may consult with other judges or with court personnel whose function is toaid the judge in carrying out adjudicative responsibilities. A judge should make reasonableefforts to ensure that law clerks and other court personnel comply with this provision.
A judge may encourage and seek to facilitate settlement but should not act in a manner
that coerces any party into surrendering the right to have the controversy resolved by the courts.
In disposing of matters promptly, efficiently, and fairly, a judge must
demonstrate due regard for the rights of the parties to be heard and to have issues resolvedwithout unnecessary cost or delay. A judge should monitor and supervise cases to reduce oreliminate dilatory practices, avoidable delays, and unnecessary costs.
Prompt disposition of the court’s business requires a judge to devote adequate time to
judicial duties, to be punctual in attending court and expeditious in determining matters undersubmission, and to take reasonable measures to ensure that court personnel, litigants, and theirlawyers cooperate with the judge to that end.
The admonition against public comment about the merits of a pending or
impending matter continues until the appellate process is complete. If the public commentinvolves a case from the judge’s own court, the judge should take particular care so that thecomment does not denigrate public confidence in the judiciary’s integrity and impartiality,which would violate Canon 2A. A judge may comment publicly on proceedings in which thejudge is a litigant in a personal capacity, but not on mandamus proceedings when the judge is a
litigant in an official capacity (but the judge may respond in accordance with Fed. R. App. P.
A judge’s appointees include assigned counsel, officials such as referees,
commissioners, special masters, receivers, guardians, and personnel such as law clerks,secretaries, and judicial assistants. Consent by the parties to an appointment or an award ofcompensation does not relieve the judge of the obligation prescribed by this subsection.
Appropriate action may include direct communication with the judge or
lawyer, other direct action if available, reporting the conduct to the appropriate authorities, or,when the judge believes that a judge’s or lawyer’s conduct is caused by drugs, alcohol, or amedical condition, making a confidential referral to an assistance program. Appropriate actionmay also include responding to a subpoena to testify or otherwise participating in judicial orlawyer disciplinary proceedings; a judge should be candid and honest with disciplinaryauthorities.
Recusal considerations applicable to a judge’s spouse should also be
considered with respect to a person other than a spouse with whom the judge maintains both ahousehold and an intimate relationship.
In a criminal proceeding, a victim entitled to restitution is not, within
the meaning of this Canon, a party to the proceeding or the subject matter in controversy. Ajudge who has a financial interest in the victim of a crime is not required by Canon 3C(1)(c) todisqualify from the criminal proceeding, but the judge must do so if the judge’s impartialitymight reasonably be questioned under Canon 3C(1) or if the judge has an interest that could besubstantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding under Canon 3C(1)(d)(iii).
The fact that a lawyer in a proceeding is affiliated with a law firm
with which a relative of the judge is affiliated does not of itself disqualify the judge. However,if “the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned” under Canon 3C(1), or the relativeis known by the judge to have an interest in the law firm that could be “substantially affected bythe outcome of the proceeding” under Canon 3C(1)(d)(iii), the judge’s disqualification isrequired.
A JUDGE MAY ENGAGE IN EXTRAJUDICIAL ACTIVITIES THAT
ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE OBLIGATIONS OF JUDICIAL OFFICE
A judge may engage in extrajudicial activities, including law-related pursuits and civic,
charitable, educational, religious, social, financial, fiduciary, and governmental activities, andmay speak, write, lecture, and teach on both law-related and nonlegal subjects. However, ajudge should not participate in extrajudicial activities that detract from the dignity of the judge’soffice, interfere with the performance of the judge’s official duties, reflect adversely on thejudge’s impartiality, lead to frequent disqualification, or violate the limitations set forth below.
Speaking, Writing, and Teaching.
A judge may speak, write, lecture, teach, andparticipate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system, and theadministration of justice.
A judge may consult with or appear at a public hearing before anexecutive or legislative body or official:
(a) on matters concerning the law, the legal system, or the administration ofjustice;
(b) to the extent that it would generally be perceived that a judge’s judicialexperience provides special expertise in the area; or
(c) when the judge is acting pro se in a matter involving the judge or the judge’sinterest.
A judge may participate in and serve as a member, officer,director, trustee, or nonlegal advisor of a nonprofit organization devoted to thelaw, the legal system, or the administration of justice and may assist such anorganization in the management and investment of funds. A judge may makerecommendations to public and private fund-granting agencies about projectsand programs concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration ofjustice.
Arbitration and Mediation.
A judge should not act as an arbitrator or mediatoror otherwise perform judicial functions apart from the judge’s official dutiesunless expressly authorized by law.
Practice of Law.
A judge should not practice law and should not serve as afamily member’s lawyer in any forum. A judge may, however, act pro se andmay, without compensation, give legal advice to and draft or review documentsfor a member of the judge’s family.
Civic and Charitable Activities.
A judge may participate in and serve as an officer,director, trustee, or nonlegal advisor of a nonprofit civic, charitable, educational,religious, or social organization, subject to the following limitations:
A judge should not serve if it is likely that the organization will either beengaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge or beregularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court.
A judge should not give investment advice to such an organization but may serveon its board of directors or trustees even though it has the responsibility forapproving investment decisions.
A judge may assist nonprofit law-related, civic, charitable, educational,religious, or social organizations in planning fund-raising activities and may be listed asan officer, director, or trustee. A judge may solicit funds for such an organization fromjudges over whom the judge does not exercise supervisory or appellate authority andfrom members of the judge’s family. Otherwise, a judge should not personallyparticipate in fund-raising activities, solicit funds for any organization, or use or permitthe use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose. A judge should not personallyparticipate in membership solicitation if the solicitation might reasonably be perceivedas coercive or is essentially a fund-raising mechanism.
A judge may hold and manage investments, including real estate, and engage inother remunerative activity, but should refrain from financial and businessdealings that exploit the judicial position or involve the judge in frequenttransactions or continuing business relationships with lawyers or other personslikely to come before the court on which the judge serves.
A judge may serve as an officer, director, active partner, manager, advisor, oremployee of a business only if the business is closely held and controlled bymembers of the judge’s family. For this purpose, “members of the judge’sfamily” means persons related to the judge or the judge’s spouse within the thirddegree of relationship as defined in Canon 3C(3)(a), any other relative withwhom the judge or the judge’s spouse maintains a close familial relationship, andthe spouse of any of the foregoing.
As soon as the judge can do so without serious financial detriment, the judgeshould divest investments and other financial interests that might requirefrequent disqualification.
A judge should comply with the restrictions on acceptance of gifts and theprohibition on solicitation of gifts set forth in the Judicial Conference GiftRegulations. A judge should endeavor to prevent any member of the judge’sfamily residing in the household from soliciting or accepting a gift except to theextent that a judge would be permitted to do so by the Judicial Conference GiftRegulations. A “member of the judge’s family” means any relative of a judge byblood, adoption, or marriage, or any person treated by a judge as a member of thejudge’s family.
A judge should not disclose or use nonpublic information acquired in a judicialcapacity for any purpose unrelated to the judge’s official duties.
A judge may serve as the executor, administrator, trustee,guardian, or other fiduciary only for the estate, trust, or person of a member of thejudge’s family as defined in Canon 4D(4). As a family fiduciary a judge is subject tothe following restrictions:
The judge should not serve if it is likely that as a fiduciary the judge would beengaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge or if theestate, trust, or ward becomes involved in adversary proceedings in the court onwhich the judge serves or one under its appellate jurisdiction.
While acting as a fiduciary, a judge is subject to the same restrictions onfinancial activities that apply to the judge in a personal capacity.
A judge may accept appointment to a governmentalcommittee, commission, or other position only if it is one that concerns the law, thelegal system, or the administration of justice, or if appointment of a judge is required byfederal statute. A judge should not, in any event, accept such an appointment if thejudge’s governmental duties would tend to undermine the public confidence in theintegrity, impartiality, or independence of the judiciary. A judge may represent thejudge’s country, state, or locality on ceremonial occasions or in connection withhistorical, educational, and cultural activities.
Chambers, Resources, and Staff.
A judge should not to any substantial degree usejudicial chambers, resources, or staff to engage in extrajudicial activities permitted bythis Canon.
Compensation, Reimbursement, and Financial Reporting.
A judge may acceptcompensation and reimbursement of expenses for the law-related and extrajudicialactivities permitted by this Code if the source of the payments does not give theappearance of influencing the judge in the judge’s judicial duties or otherwise give theappearance of impropriety, subject to the following restrictions:
Compensation should not exceed a reasonable amount nor should it exceed whata person who is not a judge would receive for the same activity.
Expense reimbursement should be limited to the actual costs of travel, food, andlodging reasonably incurred by the judge and, where appropriate to the occasion,by the judge’s spouse or relative. Any additional payment is compensation.
A judge should make required financial disclosures, including disclosures ofgifts and other things of value, in compliance with applicable statutes andJudicial Conference regulations and directives.
Complete separation of a judge from extrajudicial activities is neither
possible nor wise; a judge should not become isolated from the society in which the judge lives. As a judicial officer and a person specially learned in the law, a judge is in a unique position tocontribute to the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, including revisingsubstantive and procedural law and improving criminal and juvenile justice. To the extent thatthe judge’s time permits and impartiality is not compromised, the judge is encouraged to do so,either independently or through a bar association, judicial conference, or other organization
dedicated to the law. Subject to the same limitations, judges may also engage in a wide rangeof non-law-related activities.
Within the boundaries of applicable law (see, e.g.
, 18 U.S.C. § 953) a judge may express
opposition to the persecution of lawyers and judges anywhere in the world if the judge hasascertained, after reasonable inquiry, that the persecution is occasioned by conflict between theprofessional responsibilities of the persecuted judge or lawyer and the policies or practices ofthe relevant government.
A person other than a spouse with whom the judge maintains both a household and an
intimate relationship should be considered a member of the judge’s family for purposes of legalassistance under Canon 4A(5), fund raising under Canon 4C, and family business activitiesunder Canon 4D(2).
Teaching and serving on the board of a law school are permissible, but in
the case of a for-profit law school, board service is limited to a nongoverning advisory board.
Consistent with this Canon, a judge may encourage lawyers to provide pro bono legal
This Canon generally prohibits a judge from mediating a state court
matter, except in unusual circumstances (e.g.
, when a judge is mediating a federal matter thatcannot be resolved effectively without addressing the related state court matter).
A judge may act pro se in all legal matters, including matters involving
litigation and matters involving appearances before or other dealings with governmental bodies. In so doing, a judge must not abuse the prestige of office to advance the interests of the judge orthe judge’s family.
The changing nature of some organizations and their exposure to litigation
make it necessary for a judge regularly to reexamine the activities of each organization withwhich the judge is affiliated to determine if the judge’s continued association is appropriate. For example, in many jurisdictions, charitable hospitals are in court more often now than in thepast.
A judge may attend fund-raising events of law-related and other
organizations although the judge may not be a speaker, a guest of honor, or featured on theprogram of such an event. Use of a judge’s name, position in the organization, and judicialdesignation on an organization’s letterhead, including when used for fund raising or solicitingmembers, does not violate Canon 4C if comparable information and designations are listed forothers.
Canon 4D(1), (2), and (3).
Canon 3 requires disqualification of a judge in any
proceeding in which the judge has a financial interest, however small. Canon 4D requires ajudge to refrain from engaging in business and from financial activities that might interfere withthe impartial performance of the judge’s judicial duties. Canon 4H requires a judge to report
compensation received for activities outside the judicial office. A judge has the rights of anordinary citizen with respect to financial affairs, except for limitations required to safeguard theproper performance of the judge’s duties. A judge’s participation in a closely held familybusiness, while generally permissible, may be prohibited if it takes too much time or involvesmisuse of judicial prestige or if the business is likely to come before the court on which thejudge serves. Owning and receiving income from investments do not as such affect theperformance of a judge’s duties.
The restriction on using nonpublic information is not intended to affect a
judge’s ability to act on information as necessary to protect the health or safety of the judge or amember of a judge’s family, court personnel, or other judicial officers if consistent with otherprovisions of this Code.
Mere residence in the judge’s household does not by itself make a person a
member of the judge’s family for purposes of this Canon. The person must be treated by thejudge as a member of the judge’s family.
The Applicable Date of Compliance provision of this Code addresses continued service
A judge’s obligation under this Code and the judge’s obligation as a fiduciary may come
into conflict. For example, a judge should resign as a trustee if it would result in detriment tothe trust to divest holdings whose retention would require frequent disqualification of the judgein violation of Canon 4D(3).
The appropriateness of accepting extrajudicial assignments must be
assessed in light of the demands on judicial resources and the need to protect the courts frominvolvement in matters that may prove to be controversial. Judges should not acceptgovernmental appointments that could interfere with the effectiveness and independence of thejudiciary, interfere with the performance of the judge’s judicial responsibilities, or tend toundermine public confidence in the judiciary.
A judge is not required by this Code to disclose income, debts, or
investments, except as provided in this Canon. The Ethics Reform Act of 1989 andimplementing regulations promulgated by the Judicial Conference impose additional restrictionson judges’ receipt of compensation. That Act and those regulations should be consulted beforea judge enters into any arrangement involving the receipt of compensation. The restrictions soimposed include but are not limited to: (1) a prohibition against receiving “honoraria” (definedas anything of value received for a speech, appearance, or article), (2) a prohibition againstreceiving compensation for service as a director, trustee, or officer of a profit or nonprofitorganization, (3) a requirement that compensated teaching activities receive prior approval, and(4) a limitation on the receipt of “outside earned income.”
A JUDGE SHOULD REFRAIN FROM POLITICAL ACTIVITY
A judge should not:
act as a leader or hold any office in a political organization;
make speeches for a political organization or candidate, or publicly endorse oroppose a candidate for public office; or
solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution to a politicalorganization or candidate, or attend or purchase a ticket for a dinner or otherevent sponsored by a political organization or candidate.
Resignation upon Candidacy.
A judge should resign the judicial office if the judgebecomes a candidate in a primary or general election for any office.
Other Political Activity.
A judge should not engage in any other political activity. Thisprovision does not prevent a judge from engaging in activities described in Canon 4.
The term “political organization” refers to a political party, a group affiliated with a
political party or candidate for public office, or an entity whose principal purpose is to advocatefor or against political candidates or parties in connection with elections for public office.
Anyone who is an officer of the federal judicial system authorized to perform judicial
functions is a judge for the purpose of this Code. All judges should comply with this Codeexcept as provided below.
A part-time judge is a judge who serves part-time, whethercontinuously or periodically, but is permitted by law to devote time to some otherprofession or occupation and whose compensation for that reason is less than that of afull-time judge. A part-time judge:
is not required to comply with Canons 4A(4), 4A(5), 4D(2), 4E, 4F, or 4H(3);
except as provided in the Conflict-of-Interest Rules for Part-time MagistrateJudges, should not practice law in the court on which the judge serves or in anycourt subject to that court’s appellate jurisdiction, or act as a lawyer in aproceeding in which the judge has served as a judge or in any related proceeding.
Judge Pro Tempore.
A judge pro tempore is a person who is appointed to acttemporarily as a judge or as a special master.
While acting in this capacity, a judge pro tempore is not required to comply withCanons 4A(4), 4A(5), 4D(2), 4D(3), 4E, 4F, or 4H(3); further, one who actssolely as a special master is not required to comply with Canons 4A(3), 4B, 4C,4D(4), or 5.
A person who has been a judge pro tempore should not act as a lawyer in aproceeding in which the judge has served as a judge or in any related proceeding.
A judge who is retired under 28 U.S.C. § 371(b) or § 372(a), or who issubject to recall under § 178(d), or who is recalled to judicial service, should complywith all the provisions of this Code except Canon 4F, but the judge should refrain fromjudicial service during the period of an extrajudicial appointment not sanctioned byCanon 4F. All other retired judges who are eligible for recall to judicial service (exceptthose in U.S. territories and possessions) should comply with the provisions of this Codegoverning part-time judges. A senior judge in the territories and possessions mustcomply with this Code as prescribed by 28 U.S.C. §§ 373(c)(5) and (d).
Persons to whom this Code applies should arrange their financial and fiduciary affairs as
soon as reasonably possible to comply with it and should do so in any event within one yearafter appointment. If, however, the demands on the person’s time and the possibility ofconflicts of interest are not substantial, such a person may continue to act, withoutcompensation, as an executor, administrator, trustee, or other fiduciary for the estate or personof one who is not a member of the person’s family if terminating the relationship wouldunnecessarily jeopardize any substantial interest of the estate or person and if the judicialcouncil of the circuit approves.
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