July 25, 2012
A recent opinion from the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee:
1. May a judge give a keynote speech at the local council of Girl Scouts’ annual business meeting where the meeting’s purposes are to report on the council’s status and recognize adult volunteers?
2. May a judge give a keynote speech at the Girl Scouts’ annual Gold and Silver Award Ceremony where the speech’s purposes are to congratulate girls who have earned the highest awards available and encourage them to be involved in the community?
The inquiring judge states that she is a lifelong member of the Girl Scouts, and has been very active in the local council of the Girl Scouts at both the program level and leadership level. She resigned from the Girl Scouts’ Board of Directors upon her appointment to the bench, but the local council would like to recognize her for her involvement in the Girl Scouts program. There is no charge for any of events at which the inquiring judge has been asked to speak.
But what about Boy Scouts?
The inquiring judge also asks if there is a prohibition against speaking at the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Award ceremony. Although the inquiring judge has not provided any information about the event, and whether there is a cost to attend, her speech would be permissible under Canon 5 as long as the facts relating to the Boy Scouts’ ceremony are consistent with this Opinion.
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