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Canon 5 A judge or judicial candidate shall refrain from inappropriate political activity

Baldwin's Kentucky Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of the Supreme Court

Baldwin's Kentucky Revised Statutes Annotated
Rules of the Supreme Court
IV Judicial Conduct Commission (Refs & Annos)
SCR 4.300. Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct
Rules of the Supreme Court (SCR), Canon 5
Canon 5 A judge or judicial candidate shall refrain from inappropriate political activity
A. Political Conduct in General.
(1) Except as permitted by law, a judge or a candidate for election to judicial office shall not:
(a) campaign as a member of a political organization;
(b) act as a leader or hold any office in a political organization;
(c) make speeches for or against a political organization or candidate or publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office;
(d) solicit funds for or pay an assessment or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, except as authorized in subsection A(2);
COMMENTARY
A judge or a candidate for election to judicial office retains the right to participate in the political process as a voter. A judge or a candidate for election to judicial office may publicly affiliate with a political organization but may not campaign as a member of a political organization.
Where false information concerning a judicial candidate is made public, a judge or candidate having knowledge of the facts is not prohibited by Section 5A(1) from making the facts public.
Section 5A(1) does not prohibit a judge or candidate from privately expressing his or her views on judicial candidates or other candidates for public office.
(2) A judge or a candidate for election to judicial office may purchase tickets to political gatherings for the judge or candidate and one guest, may attend political gatherings and may speak to such gatherings on the judge's or candidate's own behalf.
COMMENTARY
A judge or candidate, in purchasing tickets to political gatherings, should be careful that he or she doesn't create the impression that the purchase is not for the advancement of the judge or candidate but is solely a contribution to another candidate or political organization, which is prohibited.
(3) A judge shall resign office when the judge becomes a candidate either in a party primary or in a general election for a non-judicial office, except that the judge may continue to hold judicial office while being a candidate for election to or serving as a delegate in a state constitutional convention, if otherwise permitted by law.
(4) A judge shall not engage in any other political activity except on behalf of measures to improve the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, as provided in Canon 2B and C.
COMMENTARY
A judge or candidate for judicial office shall encourage members of his or her family to adhere to the same standards of political conduct in support of the candidate that apply to the candidate. Family members are free to participate in other political activity.
B. Campaign Conduct.
(1) A judge or candidate for election to judicial office:
(a) shall maintain the dignity appropriate to judicial office, and shall encourage members of the candidate's family to adhere to the same standards of political conduct;
(b) shall prohibit public officials or employees subject to the candidate's direction and control from doing for the candidate what the candidate is prohibited from doing under this Canon; and except to the extent authorized under subsection B(2), the candidate should not allow any other person to do for the candidate what the candidate is prohibited from doing under this Canon;
(c) shall not, in connection with cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court, make pledges, promises or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of judicial office; and shall not knowingly, or with reckless disregard for the truth, misrepresent any candidate's identity, qualifications, present position, or make any other false or misleading statements.
COMMENTARY
The making of a pledge, promise or commitment is not dependent upon, or limited to, the use of any specific words or phrases; instead, the totality of the statement must be examined to determine if a reasonable person would believe that the candidate for judicial office has specifically undertaken to reach a particular result. Pledges, promises, or commitments must be contrasted with statements or announcements of personal views on legal, political, or other issues, which are not prohibited. When making such statements, a judge should acknowledge the overarching judicial obligation to apply and uphold the law, without regard to his or her personal views.
A judicial candidate may make campaign promises related to judicial organization, administration, and court management, such as a promise to dispose of a backlog of cases, start court sessions on time, or avoid favoritism in appointments and hiring. A candidate may also pledge to take action outside the courtroom, such as working toward an improved jury selection system, or advocating for more funds to improve the physical plant and amenities of the courthouse.
Judicial candidates may receive questionnaires or requests for interviews from the media and from issue advocacy or other community organizations that seek to learn their views on disputed or controversial legal or political issues. Section 5B(1)(c) does not specifically address judicial responses to such inquiries. Depending upon the wording and format of such questionnaires, candidates' responses might be viewed as pledges, promises or commitments to perform the adjudicative duties of office other than in an impartial way. To avoid violating Section 5B(1)(c), therefore, candidates who respond to media and other inquiries should also give assurances that they will keep an open mind and will carry out their adjudicative duties faithfully and impartially if elected. Candidates who do not respond may state their reasons for not responding, such as the danger that answering might be perceived by a reasonable person as undermining a successful candidate's independence or impartiality, or that it might lead to frequent disqualifications.
(d) shall file the report referred to in Canon 4H(2).
(2) A judge or a candidate for judicial office shall not personally solicit campaign funds, but may establish committees of responsible persons to secure and manage the expenditure of funds for the campaign and to obtain public statements of support for the candidacy. A candidate's committees may not solicit funds for the campaign earlier than 180 days before a primary election. A candidate's committees may not solicit funds after a general election. (See KRS 121.150.) A candidate shall not use or permit the use of campaign contributions for the private benefit of the candidate or a member of the candidate's family.
COMMENTARY
This rule has been revised in accordance with Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, No. 13-1499, 575 U.S. ___ (2015).
Section 5B(2) permits a candidate to establish campaign committees to solicit and accept political support and reasonable financial contributions. At the start of the campaign, the candidate should instruct his or her campaign committees to solicit or accept only contributions that are reasonable under the circumstances. The candidate should instruct his or her campaign committees as to the requirements of Canon 5 of this Code. The candidate is responsible for the actions of his or her campaign committees.

Credits

HISTORY: Amended by Order 2015-09, eff. 5-6-15; prior amendments eff. 3-12-14 (Order 2014-04), 2-24-14 (Order 2014-03), 2-18-13 (Order 2013-04), 12-15-10 (Order 2010-11), 2-16-06 (Order 2006-03), 9-15-05 (Order 2005-9), 1-1-05 (Order 2004-5), 2-1-00 (Order 99-1), 1-1-99 (Order 98-2), 11-1-95 (Order 95-1), 4-4-91, 1-1-87, 10-1-82, 7-1-81, 1-1-80, 7-1-79, 1-29-79, 6-1-78, 3-1-78, 2-22-78, 1-1-78; adopted eff. 1-1-78
Note: Former Rules of Appellate Procedure (RAP) were amended and redesignated as Rules of the Supreme Court (SCR) by Order of the Supreme Court effective January 1, 1978. Prior Rules of the Court of Appeals (RCA) had been redesignated as Rules of Appellate Procedure effective March 12, 1976.
Sup. Ct. Rules, Canon 5, KY ST S CT Canon 5
Current with amendments received through April 1, 2017
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