Opinion No. 98-2
April 8, 1998
TOPIC: Propriety of a judge signing and circulating the nominating petitions of another judicial candidate.
DIGEST: A judge may circulate and sign the nominating petitions of a judicial candidate when that judge is also a candidate in the same election.
REFERENCES: Illinois Supreme Court Rules 67A(1)(b) and 67B(1)(b)(iv); Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee Opinion No. 94-11.
A judge has declared him/herself a candidate for the upcoming primary election and has circulated his/her own petition forms. The judge asks if it would be appropriate for him/her to circulate some petitions for a friend who intends to run for another judicial vacancy in the same primary.
May a judge who is a judicial candidate sign and circulate nominating petitions for other judicial candidates in that same election?
A judge who is a candidate may sign petitions for other judicial candidates and may circulate primary petitions for other judicial candidates.
Rule 67A(1)(b) prohibits judges or candidates for judicial office from endorsing or opposing any candidate for public office. However, Rule 67B(1)(b)(iv) specifically permits judges who are judicial candidates to publicly endorse other candidates in a judicial election. Further, IJEC Opinion No. 94-11 arrives at the same opinion. Accordingly, even if circulating nominating petitions is construed to be the endorsement of a candidate pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 67, the judicial candidate may engage in such activity.