CANON 4

A JUDGE OR CANDIDATE FOR JUDICIAL OFFICE SHALL NOT ENGAGE IN POLITICAL OR CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY THAT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE INDEPENDENCE*, INTEGRITY,* OR IMPARTIALITY* OF THE JUDICIARY.

RULE 4.1

Political and Campaign Activities of Judges and Judicial Candidates* in General

(A) Except as permitted in this Canon, a judge or a judicial candidate shall not:

(1) act as a leader in, or hold an office in, a political organization;*

(2) make speeches on behalf of a political organization;

(3) publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for any public office;

(4) solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution* to a political organization or a candidate for public office;

(5) attend or purchase tickets for dinners or other events sponsored by a political organization or a candidate for public office;

(6) publicly identify himself or herself as a member of a political organization, except as necessary to vote in an election;

(7) seek, accept, or use endorsements from a political organization;

(8) use court staff or make excessive use of court facilities or other court resources in seeking judicial office;

(9) knowingly,* or with reckless disregard for the truth, make any false or misleading statement in seeking judicial office;

(10) make any statement that would reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending* or impending* in any court; or

(11) make pledges, promises, or commitments other than the faithful, impartial and diligent performance of judicial duties.

(B) A judge or judicial candidate shall take reasonable measures to ensure that other persons do not undertake, on behalf of the judge or judicial candidate, any activities prohibited under this Canon.

(C) Prior to confirmation, a non-judge judicial candidate is not required to comply with Subsections (A)(1) or (A)(6).

 

Effective November 1, 2019

 

RULE 4.2

Political and Campaign Activities of Judges in Retention Elections

(A) A judge standing for retention shall act at all times in a manner consistent with the independence,* integrity,* and impartiality* of the judiciary and shall encourage members of the judge's family* to adhere to the same standards of conduct in support of the judge that apply to the judge.

(B) If a judge standing for retention has drawn public opposition, the judge may operate a campaign for office subject to the following limitations:

(1) The judge shall comply with all applicable election, election campaign, and election campaign fund-raising laws* and regulations;

(2) The judge shall not directly solicit* or accept campaign funds or solicit public statements of support, 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. Committees may solicit campaign contributions* and public statements of support from lawyers and non-lawyers. Surplus contributions held by the committee after the election shall be contributed without public attribution to the Utah Bar Foundation. Committees must not permit the use of campaign contributions for the private benefit of the judge or members of the judge's family;

(3) The judge shall review and approve the content of all campaign statements and materials produced by his or her campaign committee before their dissemination;

(4) The judge may speak to public gatherings on the judge's own behalf;

(5) The judge may respond to personal attacks or attacks on the judge's record, provided the response is consistent with other provisions of this Rule; and

(6) When a party or lawyer who made a contribution of $50 or more to the judge's campaign committee appears in a case, the judge shall disclose the contribution to the parties. The requirement to disclose shall continue from the time the judge forms a campaign committee until 180 days after the judge's retention election.

(C) If a judge reasonably anticipates public opposition, the judge may form a campaign committee. The committee may begin preparing campaign materials and may reserve media space and domains. The committee may solicit and expend funds for these preparatory activities but the committee may not begin a campaign until opposition becomes public or the judge reasonably believes that public opposition is imminent.

[1] Campaign committees may solicit and accept campaign contributions, manage the expenditure of campaign funds, and generally conduct campaigns. Judges are responsible for compliance with the requirements of election law and other applicable law and for the activities of their campaign committees.

[2] At the start of a campaign, the judge must instruct the campaign committee to solicit or accept only such contributions as are reasonable in amount, appropriate under the circumstances, and in conformity with applicable law. Although lawyers and others who might appear before a retained judge are permitted to make campaign contributions, the judge should instruct his or her campaign committee to be especially cautious in connection with such contributions, so that they do not create grounds for disqualification if the judge is retained. See Rule 2.11.

COMMENT

RULE 4.3

Activities of Judges Who Become Candidates for Nonjudicial Office

(A) Upon becoming a candidate for a nonjudicial elective office, a judge shall resign from judicial office, unless permitted by law* to continue to hold judicial office.

(B) Upon becoming a candidate for a nonjudicial appointive office, a judge is not required to resign from judicial office, provided that the judge complies with the other provisions of this Code.

COMMENT

[1] In campaigns for nonjudicial elective public office, candidates may make pledges, promises, or commitments related to positions they would take and ways they would act if elected to office. Although appropriate in nonjudicial campaigns, this manner of campaigning is inconsistent with the role of a judge, who must remain fair and impartial to all who come before him or her. The potential for misuse of the judicial office together with the political promises that the judge would be compelled to make in the course of campaigning for nonjudicial elective office, dictate that a judge who wishes to run for such an office must resign upon becoming a candidate.

[2] The “resign to run” rule set forth in paragraph (A) ensures that a judge cannot use the judicial office to promote his or her candidacy and prevents post-campaign retaliation from the judge in the event the judge is defeated in the election. When a judge is seeking appointive nonjudicial office, however, the dangers are not sufficient to warrant imposing the “resign to run” rule.