law clerk volunteer at planned parenthood during clerkship?

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Anonymous User
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law clerk volunteer at planned parenthood during clerkship?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 14, 2019 1:56 pm

Ethics question--I have an opportunity to volunteer with planned parenthood but I am currently finishing up a one-year district-court clerkship. If Judge is comfortable with me volunteering, do I still run up against judicial ethics rules since PP is such a political organization? TIA

LBJ's Hair

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Re: law clerk volunteer at planned parenthood during clerkship?

Post by LBJ's Hair » Tue May 14, 2019 2:06 pm

It's not a political organization--Planned Parenthood's purpose is not primarily to advocate for certain candidates for public office--but like...why would you put yourself/your judge in this position. Just wait til the clerkship ends.
Last edited by QContinuum on Mon May 27, 2019 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.


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Re: law clerk volunteer at planned parenthood during clerkship?

Post by BlackAndOrange84 » Tue May 14, 2019 2:42 pm ... s_2011.pdf
Too lazy to fix line breaks from PDF:
Caution is a theme that unites all of your ethical obligations, but
you need to exercise special caution in three areas: political activities,
online activities, and gifts. It is easy for clerks who are engaged in
their communities and lead busy lives outside the court to stumble
in these areas.

Political activities
Canon 5 of the Code of Conduct prohibits law clerks from engaging
in both partisan and nonpartisan political activity. You may not run
for office; campaign for others; publicly endorse or oppose candidates; or contribute funds to political organizations, candidates, or
events. You should not even take passive actions that might link you
with a political issue,
such as displaying a political sign or bumper

Exercise considerable caution before engaging in activities with
obvious political overtones, even if they don’t meet the Code of
Conduct’s definition of political activity. These might include, for
example, activities related to a hotly debated political issue.

Your spouse and children may engage in political activities; however, if they do, you have an obligation to disassociate yourself from
their involvement. For example, if your spouse makes political contributions, he or she should do so from a bank account without your
name on it.

What political activities may you participate in?
You may register with a political party and vote in partisan and nonpartisan primary and general elections. You may express a personal
opinion privately, for example, to a family member or friend. But
be careful not to express your political opinions to broader audiences. The Online Activities section, on pages 15–17, discusses how
far your circle of friends extends.
Advisory Opinion No. 92 discusses permissible and impermissible political activities for judicial employees. The key is to prevent
any association of particular political opinions with the court, thus
protecting the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.
your judge if you have any question about whether it is appropriate
to participate in a particular activity.

Where to look for guidance on political activities
• Advisory Opinion No. 92: Political Activities Guidelines for Judicial
• Compendium § 5.3-1: Spouse’s and Other Relatives’ Political Activities [Judicial Employees]
• Compendium § 5.4-1: Public Support Causes [Judicial Employees]
• Compendium § 5.5: Other Partisan Political Activities [Judicial
• Compendium § 5.6: Other Nonpartisan Political Activities [Judicial
Btw, contrary to second poster, doesn't matter that PP doesn't primarily advocate for candidates. As far as I can tell, there's no distinction between issue advocacy and candidate advocacy for clerk political activities.

Laser Lady

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Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:11 pm

Re: law clerk volunteer at planned parenthood during clerkship?

Post by Laser Lady » Tue May 14, 2019 2:56 pm

See also Advisory Opinion #82:
The judge should not become a member of an organization “if it is likely that the organization will either be engaged in proceedings that would
ordinarily come before the judge or be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court.” Canon 4B(1). This proscription would likely
preclude judges’ involvement with certain types of nonprofit organizations, such as legal aid bureaus. See also Advisory Opinion Nos. 28 (“Service
as Officer or Trustee of Hospital or Hospital Association”) and 40 (“Service on Governing Board of Nonprofit Organization that Tends to Become
Involved in Court Proceedings”).
. . . .

The judge should not join an organization if the judge perceives there is any other ethical obligation that would preclude such membership. For
example, if the organization takes public positions on controversial topics, association with the group might raise a reasonable question regarding
the judge’s impartiality. The judge should bear in mind that the public will normally be uninformed of any restriction or qualification that the judge may have placed on affiliation with the organization.

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