State Bar of Michigan
home member area contact us


ethics



 print this page


for members
SBM general information

member directory

admissions, ethics, and
   regulation


diversity & inclusion

justice initiatives

member services

practice management
   resource center


public policy resource
   center


publications and
   advertising


research and links

sections & committees


ethics for members
ethics developments
ethics opinions
TAON (trust accounts)


from the courts
opinion searching
virtual court


for the public
public resources
media resources


giving opportunities
a lawyer helps
access to justice
   campaign

Ethics Opinion

print this page

JI-36

April 15, 1991

SYLLABUS

    A judge or candidate may place an advertisement in a political party's ad book so long as the content of the advertisement does not constitute a speech on behalf of a political party or nonjudicial candidate or an endorsement of a candidate for nonjudicial office.

    References: MCJC 7A; JI-30.

TEXT

A judge requests an opinion whether it is permitted conduct under the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct to purchase an advertisement in a political party's ad book.

MCJC 7A states in part:

    "(1) A judge or a candidate for judicial office should not:

      "(a) hold any office in a political party;

      "(b) make speeches on behalf of a political party or non-judicial candidate or publicly endorse a candidate for non-judicial office.

    "(2) A judge or candidate for judicial office may:

      "(a) attend political gatherings;

      "(b) speak to such gatherings on his own behalf or on behalf of other judicial candidates;

      "(c) contribute to a political party."

If the advertisement is merely a "tombstone" ad, and does not constitute a speech on behalf of a political party or nonjudicial candidate or an endorsement of a non-judicial candidate, it would be permissible under MCJC 7A(2). An acceptable example would be:

    paid for by
    JUDGE XXXXX XXXXXXXXX
    CIRCUIT JUDGE

Placing such a "tombstone" advertisement in a political party's ad book is, in our view, even less suspect than attending a political gathering [permissible under MCJC 7A(2)(a)] or contributing to a political party [permissible under MCJC 7A(2)(c)]. It is a contribution and an appearance, and nothing more. See also, JI-30, opining a judge may attend a fundraiser held for a nonjudicial candidate, and may participate in campaign activities which do not constitute a public endorsement of the nonjudicial candidate.

Although the inquirer states he/she is not a candidate, that fact is immaterial since MCJC 7A applies equally to judges and candidates.

Therefore a judge or candidate may place an advertisement in a political party's ad book so long as the content of the advertisement does not constitute a speech on behalf of a political party or nonjudicial candidate or an endorsement of a candidate for nonjudicial office.

 
     

 

follow us
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on LinkedIn Follow Us on Twitter Follow the SBM Blog

 

©Copyright 2014

website links
Contact Us
Site Map
Website Privacy Statement PDF
Staff Links

SBM on the Mapcontact information
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012
Phone: (517) 346-6300
Toll Free: (800) 968-1442
Fax: (517) 482-6248