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
Howard W. Brill
For the Committee