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RULE 4.1

Political and CampaignActivities of Judges and Judicial Candidates* in General

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

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

(2) make speeches onbehalf of a political organization;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(B) A judge or judicialcandidate shall take reasonable measures to ensure that other persons do notundertake, on behalf of the judge or judicial candidate, any activitiesprohibited under this Canon.

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

 COMMENT

General Considerations

 

[1] Even when subjectto public election, a judge plays a role different from that of a legislator orexecutive branch official. Rather than making decisions based upon theexpressed views or preferences of the electorate, a judge makes decisions basedupon the law and the facts of every case. Therefore, in furtherance of thisinterest, judges and judicial candidates must, to the greatest extent possible, be freeand appear to be free from political influence and political pressure.This Canon imposes narrowlytailored restrictions upon the political and campaign activities of all judgesand judicial candidates.

 

Participation inPolitical Activities.

 

[2] Public confidencein the independence and impartiality of the judiciary is eroded if judgesor judicial candidates areperceived to be subject to political influence.

 

[3] Although membersof the families of judges and judicial candidates are free to engage in their own politicalactivity, including running for public office, there is no ?family exception?to the prohibition in paragraph (A)(3) against a judge or candidate publiclyendorsing candidates for public office. A judge or judicial candidate must not become involved in,or publicly associated with, a family member's political activity or campaignfor public office. To avoid public misunderstanding, judges and judicial candidates should take, and should urgemembers of their families to take, reasonable steps to avoid any implicationthat they endorse any family member's candidacy or other political activity.

 

[4] Judges and judicial candidates retain the right toparticipate in the political process as voters in both primary and generalelections.

 

Statements andComments Made During a Campaign for Judicial Office.

 

[5] Judicial candidates must be scrupulously fair andaccurate in all statements made by them and by their campaign committees.Paragraph (A)(9) obligates candidates and their committees to refrain frommaking statements that are false or misleading, or that omit facts necessary tomake the communication considered as a whole not materially misleading.

 

[6] Judicial candidates are sometimes the subject offalse, misleading, or unfair allegations made by third parties or the media.For example, false or misleading statements might be made regarding theidentity, present position, experience, qualifications, or judicial rulings of a candidate. In other situations,false or misleading allegations may be made that bear upon a candidate'sintegrity or fitness for judicial office. As long as the candidate does not violate otherprovisions of this Canon, the candidate maymake a factually accurate public response.

 

[7] Subject to theprovisions of this Canon, a judicial candidate is permitted to responddirectly to false, misleading, or unfair allegations made against him or herwhile seeking judicial office, althoughit is preferable for someone else to respond if the allegations relate to apending case.

 

[8] Paragraph (A)(10) prohibits judicial candidates from making comments that might impair thefairness of pending or impending judicial proceedings. This provision does not restrictarguments or statements to the court or jury by a lawyer who is a judicial candidate, or rulings, statements, orinstructions by a judge that may appropriately affect the outcome of a matter.

 

Pledges, Promises, orCommitments

 

[9] The role of a judgeis different from that of a legislator or executive branch official, even whenthe judge is subject to public election. 

Campaigns for judicial office must be conducted differently from campaigns for otheroffices.

 

[10] Paragraph (A)(11)makes applicable to both judges and judicial candidates the prohibition that applies to judges in Rule2.10(B), relating to pledges, promises, or commitments that are inconsistentwith the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of the judicial office.

 

[11] The making of apledge, promise, or commitment is not dependent upon, or limited to, the use ofany specific words or phrases; instead, the totality of the statement must beexamined to determine if a reasonable person would believe that the candidatefor judicial office hasspecifically undertaken to reach a particular result.

 

[12] A judicial candidate may make promises relatedto judicial organization,administration, and court management, such as a promise to dispose of a backlogof cases, start court sessions on time, or avoid favoritism in appointments andhiring. A candidate may also pledge to take action outside the courtroom, suchas working toward an improved jury selection system, or advocating for morefunds to improve the physical plant and amenities of the courthouse.

 

RULE 4.2

Political and CampaignActivities of Judges in Retention Elections

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

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

(1) The judge shallcomply with all applicable election, election campaign, and election campaignfund-raising laws* and regulations;

(2) The judge shall notdirectly solicit* or accept campaign funds or solicit public statements ofsupport, but may establish committees of responsible persons to secure andmanage the expenditure of funds for the campaign and to obtain publicstatements of support. Committees may solicit campaign contributions* andpublic statements of support from lawyers and non-lawyers. Surpluscontributions held by the committee after the election shall be contributedwithout public attribution to the Utah Bar Foundation. Committees must notpermit the use of campaign contributions for the private benefit of the judgeor members of the judge's family;

(3) The judge shallreview and approve the content of all campaign statements and materialsproduced by his or her campaign committee before their dissemination;

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

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

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

(C) If a judgereasonably anticipates public opposition, the judge may form a campaigncommittee. The committee may begin preparing campaign materials and may reservemedia space and domains. The committee may solicit and expend funds for thesepreparatory activities but the committee may not begin a campaign untilopposition becomes public or the judge reasonably believes that publicopposition is imminent.

COMMENT

[1] Campaign committees may solicit and accept campaigncontributions, manage the expenditure of campaign funds, and generally conductcampaigns. Judges are responsible for compliance with the requirements ofelection law and other applicable law and for the activities of their campaigncommittees.

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

 

RULE 4.3

Activities of Judges WhoBecome Candidates for Nonjudicial Office

(A) Upon becoming acandidate for a nonjudicial electiveoffice, a judge shall resign from judicial office, unless permitted by law* tocontinue to hold judicial office.

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

COMMENT

[1] In campaigns for nonjudicial electivepublic office, candidates may make pledges, promises, or commitments related topositions 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 mustremain fair and impartial to all who come before him or her. The potential formisuse of the judicial office together with the political promises that thejudge would be compelled to make in the course of campaigning for nonjudicial elective office, dictate that a judge whowishes to run for such an office must resign upon becoming a candidate.

[2] The ?resign to run? rule set forth in paragraph (A) ensuresthat a judge cannot use the judicial office to promote his or her candidacy andprevents post-campaign retaliation from the judge in the event the judge isdefeated in the election. When a judge is seeking appointive nonjudicial office, however, the dangers are notsufficient to warrant imposing the ?resign to run? rule.