October 12, 2008
I Now Pronounce You...
A recent judicial ethics opinion from Massachusetts holds that a judge may serve as a justice of the peace for the sole purpose of conducted a marriage ceremony:
Performing marriages does not implicate any policy making role, has no political agenda and requires no advocacy. The ability to harmonize the judicial role with serving as justice of the peace, at least for the purpose of solemnizing marriage, is further bolstered by Article II of the Massachusetts Constitution, which provides that "No governor, lieutenant governor, or judge of the supreme judicial court, shall hold any other office or place, under the authority of this commonwealth,...saving that the judges of the said court may hold the offices of justices of the peace through the state..." Similarly, Article VIII provides that "judges of the courts of common pleas shall hold no other office under the government of this commonwealth, the office of justice of the peace and militia offices excepted." This language also reflects an understanding that the role of judge is not inconsistent with holding the role of justice of the peace.
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