Opinion No. 94-21
September 27, 1994
TOPIC: Judge's attendance and introduction at a political gathering.
DIGEST: A judge, whether or not a candidate for election or retention, may
attend a political gathering and may be introduced at that gathering.
REFERENCES: Illinois Supreme Court Rule 67 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct, Canon 7 (145 Ill.2d R. 67); Terminology Section, Illinois Code of
Two judges plan to attend an annual dinner and election rally held by a
political party. The judges, together with the other public officials in attendance,
will be introduced by name and position at the function. One of the judges is a
candidate for election, the other is not.
1. May a judge, whether or not a candidate for election or
retention, attend a political gathering?
2. May a judge, whether or not a candidate for election or
retention, be introduced at a political gathering?
Since the amendment of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 67, effective August 6,
1993, judges are expressly permitted to attend political gatherings. Illinois
Supreme Court Rule 67B(1)(a)(i) provides:
1. A judge or candidate may, except as prohibited
a. at any time
i. purchase tickets for and attend political
The term "judge" is defined in the Terminology Section of the Illinois Code
of Judicial Conduct to include "circuit and associate judges and judges of the
appellate and supreme court." Based upon these provisions of the Code of
Judicial Conduct, all judges, whether or not a candidate for election or retention,
may attend political gatherings.
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 67 which governs a judge's political activity,
does not directly address the question of whether a judge may be introduced at a
political function. The Committee is of the opinion, however, that the provisions
of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 67, when read together, permit such introductions.
First, a judge who is a candidate for public election or retention may speak
at political gatherings in his or her own behalf. See Illinois Supreme Court Rule
67B(1)(b)(i). Certainly, if a judge may, consistent with Illinois Supreme Court
Rule 67, speak to a group the judge may, consistent with Illinois Supreme Court
Rule 67, be introduced to the group.
Second, a judge who is not a candidate may attend political functions and
also "identify himself or herself as a member of a political party." See Illinois
Supreme Court Rule 67B(1)(a)(ii). Since a simple introduction would do no more
than recognize a judge's attendance and by implication, if not expressly, identify
the judge's alignment with the political party sponsoring the function, the Code
would appear to permit introductions of judges at political events.
In reaching these conclusions, the Committee has also considered the fact
that a judge attending a social, political, or other type of function would normally
during the course of the event introduce himself or herself to others in attendance.
These "private" introductions do not qualitatively differ from a more "public"
introduction which is the subject of this inquiry. The Committee believes that
both types of introductions are permissible under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 67.