Charitable Fund-Raising by Judges: The Give and Take of the 2007 ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct
The John Marshall Law School
April 19, 2009
Michigan St. Law Review, pp. 769-841, 2008
To promote public confidence in the judicial system, judges are prohibited from engaging in conduct that reflects adversely upon their independence, impartiality, or integrity. Since public trust is damaged by on-bench and off-bench activities, codes of judicial conduct severely restrict a judge's partisan political activities, private speech, business dealings, social life, religious activities, and charitable endeavors. This Article examines the restrictions placed on a judge's fund-raising efforts in support of civic, educational, charitable, fraternal, professional, and religious organizations. The Article begins by tracing the evolution of judicial fund-raising regulations through the ABA Model Codes of Judicial Conduct of 1924, 1972, 1990, and 2007. Next, specific fund-raising prohibitions of the 2007 Model Code are evaluated against the rational supporting the state’s right to limit a judge’s extra-judicial activities. The Article concludes that some of the 2007 Code’s fund-raising restrictions are justified because they prevent measurable damage to confidence in the judiciary. Other rules, however, prohibit conduct that is either harmless to, or actually enhances, the image of the judiciary. Those restrictions are not justified and should be eliminated.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 73
Keywords: judicial ethics, judicial discipline, model code of judicial conduct
JEL Classification: K00, K40, K49
Date posted: April 23, 2009
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