AN alert and truly scholarly reader sent in this advisory opinion, circa 1970:
OPINION 70-20August 26, 1970
While an attorney has both the right and duty to oppose election or reelection of a judge believed by him to be unqualified, he should not act in such a way as to lessen public confidence in our legal system.Canons: 2 and 27
CPR: Canon 8 and EC 8-6
Chairman Massey stated the opinion of the committee:
An inquiring attorney asks if he may properly make public statements, using any and all mass media available to him, concerning a judge who is seeking re-election, such statements being to the effect that the judge is unqualified and incompetent and is unable to provide a fair trial, giving examples from the attorney's personal experience.
An attorney has both the right and the duty to oppose election or re-election of a judge believed by him to be unqualified. See present Canon of Professional Ethics and Code of Professional Responsibility Canon 8. The Ethical Consideration 8-6 (CPR) is directly in point.
The committee is concerned, however, with the allusion to using mass media and the citing of personal examples to illustrate the attorney's position relating to the judge.
EC 8-6 cautions that:...While a lawyer as a citizen has a right to criticize such officials publicly, he should be certain of the merit of his complaint, use appropriate language, and avoid petty criticisms, for unrestrained and intemperate statements tend to lessen public confidence in our legal system. Criticisms motivated by reasons other than a desire to improve the legal system are not justified.
"Unrestrained and intemperate statements...." now who does that sound like?