The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 61-43

February 23, 1962
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
When lawyers are circulating a petition endorsing an incumbent judge for reelection, there is no
impropriety in a lawyer signing such petition and allowing publication of such petition. A lawyer
should not sign such a petition out of fear of disfavor if he feels the judge unfit.
Note: Judicial conduct is governed by the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Judicial Ethics
Committee issues opinions interpreting this Code.

1, 27, Judicial Canon 30
ABA 105, 139, 189, 226

Chairman Holcomb stated the opinion of the committee.
A member of The Florida Bar presents a question on the following facts:
He states that he has been requested to sign an endorsement of a judge for
re-election, which endorsement contains permission to publish the endorsement
with his name, and he asks whether this is ethical.
We believe it has been quite common and customary for such endorsements to be sought
and published, and see no reasonable objection thereto. However, we would call attention to the
following Judicial and Professional Canons and Opinions:
Under Professional Canon of Ethics No. 2 — The Selection of Judges:
Opinion 189. A lawyer should not, for fear of incurring disfavor, endorse a
judge for re-election if he believes him unfit.
Opinion 226. While lawyers may contribute to the campaign funds of judges
whose election they honestly favor, such contributions should in every case be
reasonable, and preferably made to a campaign committee.
Under Judicial Canon No. 30 — Candidacy for Office, “If a judge becomes a
candidate for any judicial office, he should refrain from all conduct which might
tend to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is using the power or prestige of his
judicial position to promote his candidacy or the success of his party:”
Opinion 105. Judges seeking re-election or appointment should not solicit the
aid of lawyers by letter or otherwise.

Opinion 139. A judge should not use the power or prestige of his office to
promote his candidacy for office, by sending out a form letter requesting
It is our understanding in this case, lawyers favoring the re-election of the incumbent
judge are circulating the petition and that the judge has no connection with its circulation or the
solicitation of names. We find no objection to lawyers signing such endorsements and permitting
them to be published.