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March 08, 1994

 

 

Honorable Howard Templeton
P.O. Box 1404
Jonesboro, Arkansas 72403

RE: Advisory Opinion #94-04

Dear Judge Templeton:

Your letter of February 23, 1994 inquires as to whether you may take a public stand on a proposed constitutional amendment that would make judicial elections non-partisan and would impose limits on judicial terms.

Although judicial involvement in political campaigns and political issues is circumscribed by Canon 5, that prohibition does not extend to measures involving the legal system or the administration of justice. Canon 5(D). In those areas that the judge is in a unique position to contribute to public debate and decision. See Commentary to Canon 4(B).

We recently concluded, in Advisory Opinion 94-01, that a judge may take a public stand as to the merits of a proposed bond election to pay for construction of a new courthouse. The authorities cited in that opinion are likewise applicable here. The proposed amendment directly involves the legal system and the administration of justice. Accordingly, we conclude that you are permitted to take a public stand on the issue.

Sincerely,

 

Howard W. Brill

For the Committee

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