NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
Commentary on Legislative Action
Circulate a Petition
Background: A part-time town justice’s position had been eliminated by the town board where the justice presides. The town’s law that authorized the elimination of the provision also provides that such elimination is subject to permissive referendum. The judge asked whether he may circulate a petition to hold a town referendum vote on the board’s resolution.
Opinion: A town judge, whose judicial position had been eliminated by resolution of the town board, may circulate a petition seeking a referendum on the resolution. The committee found that judges may publicly comment on legislative action to create or dissolve judgeships as such action concerns the law, the legal system and the administration of justice.