OK for Judge to Appear in Ad Saying He “Got Into Law in Part to Advocate for Marginalized Communities”

Starting with the clear language of Rule 1.2, it states that a judge should act at all time in a manner which promotes public trust in the independence, integrity and impartiality the judiciary. It shall also avoid impropriety, the appearance or impropriety.

It defines impartiality as “not having bias or prejudice towards particular parties or classes of people, and maintaining an open mind to consider any potential issues before a judge.” The Code defines improper conduct as any behavior that is contrary to the law, court rules or provisions, as well as conduct that compromises an impartial judge’s independence or integrity. According to the Code, “independence”, is defined as “a judge’s independence from other influences or control than those set forth by law.” According to the Code, integrity is defined as “probity,” “fairness”, honesty and uprightness.

When we examine this text in relation to other parts of the Code, it becomes apparent that there is also a way for us to test whether an act appears improprious. The comment 5 in Rule 1.2 says that the test for determining whether an act causes the appearance of impropriety is “whether it involves conduct.” We would Create in Reasonable A judge may be perceived as having violated the Code of Conduct or engaged in conduct that is detrimental to his integrity, impartiality, temperament, fitness, or ability to serve as judge. In other words, the test for impropriety is based on an objective standard— whether a “reasonable” viewer “would” (not just “could”) perceive that the judge’s conduct “reflect[ed] adversely” on the judge’s honesty, impartiality, etc.—not on what a particular viewer subjectively might or could perceive.

The key question we have to answer when analyzing Rule1.2’s alleged violation is whether it would make sense for a rational, objective person to interpret Judge Keenan’s language as “got into legislation in part to advocate on behalf of marginalized communities” and assume that Judge Keenan would rule in favor of marginalized communities in his capacity as a judge. The answer to that question is “no”. That language doesn’t suggest that Judge Keenan will rule in favor of marginalized communities over others. This language is what explains his desire to become a lawyer. A reasonable, objective person wouldn’t infer that his motivations for going to law school are based on that explanation. [him]”As a Judge.

Although Judge Keenan did admit that the ads could lead the public to believe that he advocates for the marginalized from the bench, the Commission made a factual finding. Judge Keenan stated that he can see how the ads could be confusing the public.

But he did not state that it would make a reasonable person think that he would not be impartial—he made that statement in the context of explaining his willingness to hear and consider the views of colleagues. It doesn’t matter what Judge Keenan said about his motivations for choosing law school. an objective, reasonable person To infer that he did not have an open mind to considering all possible issues [him]” as a judge is a matter that we review de novo….

A “factual” conclusion was also reached by the Commission that the ad could reasonably have been read as showing a preference for those from marginalized communities. That finding was made by the Commission on the same basis that it had concluded that Judge Keenan’s reasons for entering law school could reasonably be read to indicate that he lacks an “open mind” in considering any new issues. [him]” as a judge…. [W]The Commission’s factual finding regarding this matter is rejected. This, in addition to the reason discussed above: All judges are drawn to the law for one reason or the other.

Final, the Commission was particularly worried about the inclusion of the word “advocate” in the ad. It is true, a judge shouldn’t advocate for specific partisan causes. However, a judge can certainly advocate for particular partisan causes. Should Advocate for justice access and better administration of justice. Commentaries to Rule 1.2 state exactly this. Rule 1.2 cmts. “Judges are expected to participate in any activities that may be. . . Promote justice access for everyone”) 6 (“A judge should participate and initiate outreach activities to promote justice for all.

Promotion of. . . confidence in the administration .”). Therefore, just because you are an advocate doesn’t mean that your partisanship is inappropriate. If anything, stating that you got into law to advocate for communities that have been “marginalized” from the benefits of the justice system might counter widespread perceptions that the law has historically treated marginalized members of our community unfairly….

According to the Commission, Judge Keenan had violated Rule 1.3.1 because he was “in violation of” it.[t]His ad was designed to encourage student enrollment. This would, in turn help the college’s economic goals.

To start, let’s review Rule 1.3. It states that “A judge must not misuse the prestige and power of judicial offices to further the personal or financial interests of himself or other judges, nor allow others do so.”


The language has been updated by the 1995 CJC. The relevant portion of Canon 2(B) stated that “Judges should not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others    “

The 2011 update made a significant change to the terminology, changing it from “lend prestige to judicial office” into “abuse” of such prestige. This was in line with the changes made to the 2007 ABA. Model Code. The ABA stated that “lend” was now “abuse”, because of “[i]According to the Commission, the term lend’ caused unnecessary confusion. One example is that a judge wrote a recommendation letter to a law clerk. The Commission was told by some judges that the endorsement lent the credibility of the judge’s offices to the recommendation. In the Commission’s view, however, the problem that  Rule 1.3 seeks to address is more accurately characterized as ‘abuse’ of the office.”

The definition of abuse is unclear in Model Code. It can be defined as Black’s Law DictionaryPartially, it is “[t]”To misuse” means to deviate from legal or reasonable usage in the dealings with (a person or object). The 1995 Rule 1.3 and its 1995 interpretations are not interpreted by this court. Model Code analogue.

It is obvious that Rule 1.3 violations are characterized by a judge referring to his or her judicial status in order to get favorable treatment when dealings with traffic officers. One example of this is when a judge uses judicial lettershead to obtain an advantage in personal affairs like inquiring about automobile registrations or property assessments. Judges can, however, use judicial letterhead for a recommendation.

These examples show what the distinction is between “abuse” and “appropriate” use of judicial offices. It is important to interpret a rule in context of the Code, and keep in mind the intended meaning of canons. So, Rules 1.3 and 2.1.2 are read in tandem with Canon 3.

Canon 3 explicitly encourages judges’ participation in extrajudicial activities as it helps “integrate judges into their communities.” In the same way, Rule 3.7 says that judges “should be able to participate in extrajudicial activities.”may participate In activities sponsored or organized by governmental bodies or entities dealing with law, justice, administration, and the system of justice.” Non-profit organizations. These activities are allowed to include helping with fundraising plans, appearing or speaking on events, or serving as an officer, director, or other position in an organization.

Comment 1 of Rule 3.7 actually states specifically that the activities in which judges are allowed to participate “generally include those funded by or undertaken for public or private entities.” Non-profit educational institutions.” As the emphasis shows, comment 1 makes no distinction among legal, nonlegal, postgraduate, and undergraduate types of not-for-profit educational institutions…. North Seattle College’s advertisement was not intended as a fundraiser. It was primarily meant for recruiting. Although recruitment is an economic benefit to a college, it would be a benefit in the long-term. Canon 3 permits this because of the judge’s status. Should Education should be encouraged. It is not an offense to use one’s judicial title in this way.

{The Commission found the advertisement to be “implicative”Could it can be seen by an average person as campaign ads to Judge Keenan. Order at 3. (emphasis in added). We disagree with this finding—which is more legal than factual—because a reasonable person “would” not view this ad, which is clearly an ad for North Seattle College, as a campaign ad for Judge Keenan.} …

According to the Office of Disciplinary Council, (ODC), it came up with a different conclusion. It relied heavily upon the bus advert that Judge Keenan used to support his non-profit alma mater as a medium. To be sure, a bus advertisement differs dramatically from a pamphlet mailed to a targeted house, a video sent to targeted prospective students, or to appearances in law school alumni publications—all of which many judges do. However, the main difference lies in how and who these advertisements and publications are seen by. The videos for prospective law students and the published books are targeted at a specific audience. However, bus advertisements, such as social media postings or legal magazines, can reach an even wider audience. In the end, judges will be punished for communication that are broadened and not discriminatory rather than narrowly targeted.

The rules do not support this approach. Instead, we hold that the rules—especially Rule 3.7 and its comments—take the opposite approach. Comment 1 to Rule 3.0 states that judges can participate in activities sponsored or conducted for the public or private. Not-for-profit education institutions” Judge Keenan’s promotion of North Seattle College did not violate Rule 1.3….