Thursday, December 15, 2011

Judges May Travel Together In Election Campaigns

An opinion from the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee:

ISSUE

Whether judicial candidates who are running in different races may travel together to campaign speaking events if the candidates do not publicly endorse each other for office.

ANSWER: Yes, as long as the candidates do not travel together so frequently that it creates the impression that the judicial candidates are working together or are endorsing each other, and as long as the vehicle in which they are traveling does not display the other candidate’s campaign advertising.

As to the particulars:

...we opine that judicial candidates who are running in different races may travel together to campaign speaking events as long as the candidates do not travel together so frequently that it creates the impression that the judicial candidates are working together or are endorsing each other. See Fla. JEAC Op. 06-21 (“[A] judicial candidate must not . . . appear to run as part of a ‘slate.’”).

We recognize that what constitutes “frequent” travel is subjective.  However, we are unable to define an objective test as to the number or type of instances which may constitute “frequent” travel.  We leave such conclusions to the view of the reasonable person.

We also recognize that some judicial candidates travel in vehicles which display the candidate’s campaign advertising such as magnetic signs and bumper stickers.  We believe that a judicial candidate who travels in a vehicle displaying another candidate’s campaign advertising may create the impression of publicly endorsing the other candidate.  See Fla. JEAC Op. 87-22 (a judge should not drive an automobile with a bumper sticker supporting the spouse’s candidacy for public office).  Thus, we further opine that a judicial candidate may travel to campaign speaking events with another judicial candidate as long as the vehicle in which they are traveling does not display the other candidate’s campaign advertising.

(Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2011/12/an-opinion-from-the-florida-judicial-ethics-advisory-committee-issue-whether-judicial-candidates-who-are-running-in-diff.html

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