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Canon 4



4.1(A) 1


A judge or a judicial candidate shall not do any of the following:

act as a leader in, or hold an office in, a political organization;


4.1 (A) 2


make speeches on behalf of a political organization or another candidate for public office;


4.1(A) 3


publicly endorse or oppose another candidate for any public office;


4.1 (A) 4


solicit funds for or pay an assessment to a political organization or candidate, make contributions to any candidate or political organization in excess of the amounts permitted by law, or make total contributions in excess of fifty percent of the cumulative total permitted by law. See, e.g., A.R.S. § 16-905.


4.1 (A) 5


actively take part in any political campaign other than his or her own campaign for election, reelection or retention in office;

4.1 (A) 6


personally solicit or accept campaign contributions other than through a campaign committee authorized by Rule 4.4;


4.1 (A) 9


make any statement that would reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court; or


4.1 (A) 10


in connection with cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court, make pledges, promises, or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of judicial office.



4.1(C) 1

Except as prohibited by this code, a judge may:

engage in activities, including political activities, to improve the law, the legal system and the administration of justice;


4.1 (C) 2



purchase tickets for political dinners or other similar functions, but attendance at any such functions shall be restricted so as not to constitute a public endorsement of a candidate or cause otherwise prohibited by these rules.




RULE 4.2. Political and Campaign Activities of Judicial Candidates

(A) A judicial candidate shall:


(1) act at all times in a manner consistent with the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary;


(2) comply with all applicable election, election campaign, and election campaign fund-raising laws and regulations;


(3) review and approve the content of all campaign statements and materials produced by the candidate or his or her campaign committee, as authorized by Rule 4.4, before their dissemination; and


(4) take reasonable measures to ensure that other persons do not undertake on behalf of the candidate activities other than those described in Rule 4.4 that the candidate is prohibited from doing by Rule 4.1.


4.4 (B)


A judicial candidate subject to public election shall direct his or her campaign committee to solicit and accept only such campaign contributions as are permissible by law and to comply with all applicable statutory requirements for disclosure and divestiture of campaign contributions.


4.1 Com 3


Public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary is eroded if judges or judicial candidates are perceived to be subject to political influence. Although judges and judicial candidates may register to vote as members of a political party, they are prohibited by paragraph (A)(1) from assuming leadership roles in political organizations. Examples of such leadership roles include precinct committeemen and delegates or alternates to political conventions. Such positions would be inconsistent with an independent and impartial judiciary.


4.1 Com 4


Paragraphs (A)(2) and (A)(3) prohibit judges and judicial candidates from making speeches on behalf of political organizations or publicly endorsing or opposing candidates for public office, respectively, to prevent them from abusing the prestige of judicial office to advance the interests of others. Paragraph (A)(3) does not prohibit a judge or judicial candidate from making recommendations in complying with Rule 1.3 and the related comments. These rules do not prohibit candidates from campaigning on their own behalf or opposing candidates for the same judicial office for which they are running.


4.1 Com 5


Paragraph (A)(3) does not prohibit a judge or judicial candidate from privately expressing his or her views on judicial candidates or other candidates for public office.


4.1 Com 6


A candidate does not publicly endorse another candidate for public office by having that candidate’s name on the same ticket.


4.1 Com 7

Although members of the families of judges and judicial candidates are free to engage in their own political activity, including running for public office, there is no “family exception” to the prohibition in paragraph (A)(3) against a judge or candidate publicly endorsing candidates for public office. A judge or judicial candidate must not become involved in, or publicly associated with, a family member’s political activity or campaign for public office. To avoid public misunderstanding, judges and judicial candidates should take and should urge members of their families to take reasonable steps to avoid any implication that the judge or judicial candidate endorses any family member’s candidacy or other political activity.

4.1 Com 8

Judges and judicial candidates retain the right to participate in the political process as voters in all elections. For purposes of this canon, participation in a caucus-type election procedure does not constitute public support for or endorsement of a political organization or candidate and is not prohibited by paragraphs (A)(2) or (A)(3).

4.1 Com 9

Subject to paragraph (A)(9), a judicial candidate is permitted to respond directly to false, misleading, or unfair allegations made against him or her during a campaign, although it is permissible for someone else, including another judge, to respond if the allegations relate to a pending case.

4.1 Com 10

Paragraph (A)(9) prohibits judicial candidates from making comments that might impair the fairness of pending or impending judicial proceedings. This provision does not restrict arguments or statements to the court or jury by a lawyer who is a judicial candidate, or rulings, statements, or instructions by a judge that may appropriately affect the outcome of a matter.

4.1 Com 11


Paragraph (A)(9) must be read in conjunction with Rule 2.10, which allows judges to make public statements in the course of their official duties


4.1 Com 12


The role of a judge is different from that of a legislator or executive branch official, even when the judge is subject to public election. Campaigns for judicial office must be conducted differently from campaigns for other offices. The narrowly drafted restrictions upon political and campaign activities of judicial candidates provided in Canon 4 allow candidates to conduct campaigns that provide voters with sufficient information to permit them to distinguish between candidates and make informed electoral choices.

4.1 Com 13


Paragraph (A)(10) makes applicable to both judges and judicial candidates the prohibition that applies to judges in Rule 2.10(B), relating to pledges, promises, or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of judicial office.

4.1 Com 14


The making of a pledge, promise, or commitment is not dependent upon, or limited to, the use of any specific words or phrases; instead, the totality of the statement must be examined to determine if a reasonable person would believe that the candidate for judicial office has specifically undertaken to reach a particular result. Pledges, promises, or commitments must be contrasted with statements or announcements of personal views on legal, political, or other issues, which are not prohibited. When making such statements, a judge should acknowledge the overarching judicial obligation to apply and uphold the law, without regard to his or her personal views.

4.1 Com 15

A judicial candidate may make campaign promises related to judicial organization, administration, and court management, such as a promise to dispose of a backlog of cases, start court sessions on time, or avoid favoritism in appointments and hiring. A candidate may also pledge to take action outside the courtroom, such as working toward an improved jury selection system or advocating for more funds to improve the physical plant and amenities of the courthouse


4.1 Com 16

Judicial candidates may receive questionnaires or requests for interviews from the media and from issue advocacy or other community organizations that seek to learn their views on disputed or controversial legal or political issues. Paragraph (A)(10) does not specifically address judicial responses to such inquiries. Depending upon the wording and format of such questionnaires, candidates’ responses might be viewed as pledges, promises, or commitments to perform the adjudicative duties of office other than in an impartial way. To avoid violating paragraph (A)(10), therefore, candidates who respond to media and other inquiries should also give assurances that they will keep an open mind and will carry out their adjudicative duties faithfully and impartially if elected. Candidates who do not respond may state their reasons for not responding, such as the danger that answering might be perceived by a reasonable person as undermining a successful candidate’s independence or impartiality, or that it might lead to frequent disqualification. See Rule 2.11.

4.3 Com 3

Judicial candidates are sometimes the subject of false, misleading, or unfair allegations made by opposing candidates, third parties, or the media. For example, false or misleading statements might be made regarding the identity, present position, experience, qualifications, or judicial rulings of a candidate. In other situations, false or misleading allegations may be made that bear upon a candidate’s integrity or fitness for judicial office. As long as the candidate does not violate this rule, the candidate may make a factually accurate public response. In addition, when an independent third party has made unwarranted attacks on a candidate’s opponent, the candidate may disavow the attacks and request the third party to cease and desist.

4.4 Com 1

Judicial candidates are prohibited from personally soliciting campaign contributions or personally accepting campaign contributions. See Rule 4.1(A)(6). This rule recognizes that in many jurisdictions, judicial candidates must raise campaign funds to support their candidacies, and permits candidates, other than candidates for appointive judicial office, to establish campaign committees to solicit and accept lawful financial contributions or in-kind contributions.

4.4 Com 2

Campaign committees may solicit and accept campaign contributions, manage the expenditure of campaign funds, and generally conduct campaigns. Candidates are responsible for compliance with the requirements of election law and other applicable law and for the activities of their campaign committees.

4.4 Com 3

During the campaign, the candidate and his or her campaign committee should consider whether a contribution may affect the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judge. The judicial candidate and his or her campaign committee should be aware that contributions could create grounds for disqualification if the candidate is elected to judicial office. See Rule 2.11.