This rule only applies to cases filed prior to December 31, 2010.
(A) Standards of Political Conduct in General for All Judges and Candidates.
(1) Except as authorized in sections 5B(2) and 5C(1), a judge or a candidate* for retention in or appointment to judicial office shall not:
(a) Act as a leader or hold an office or membership in a political organization*;
(b) Publicly endorse or publicly oppose another candidate for public office;
(c) Make speeches on behalf of a political organization;
(d) Attend political gatherings; or
(e) Solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, or purchase tickets for political party dinners or other functions.
(2) A judge shall resign from judicial office upon becoming a candidate* for a nonjudicial office either in a primary or in a general election, except that the judge may continue to hold judicial office while being a candidate for election to or serving as a delegate in a state constitutional convention if the judge is otherwise permitted by law* to do so.
(3) A candidate for a judicial office:
(a) Shall maintain the dignity appropriate to judicial office and act in a manner consistent with the integrity and independence of the judiciary, and shall encourage members of the candidate's family* to adhere to the same standards of political conduct in support of the candidate as apply to the candidate;
(b) Shall prohibit employees and officials who serve at the pleasure of the candidate, and shall discourage other employees and officials subject to the candidate's direction and control from doing on the candidate's behalf what the candidate is prohibited from doing under the sections of this canon;
(c) Except to the extent permitted by section 5C(2), shall not authorize or knowingly* permit any other person to do for the candidate what the candidate is prohibited from doing under the sections of this canon;
(d) Shall not:
(i) make pledges or promises of conduct in office other than the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of the office;
(ii) make statements that commit or appear to commit the candidate with respect to cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court; or
(iii) knowingly misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent;
(e) May respond to personal attacks or attacks on the candidate's record as long as the response does not violate section 5A(3)(d).
(B) Candidates Seeking Appointment to Judicial or Other Governmental Office.
(1) A candidate* for appointment to judicial office or a judge seeking other governmental office shall not solicit or accept funds, personally or through a committee or otherwise, to support his or her candidacy.
(2) A candidate for appointment to judicial office or a judge seeking other governmental office shall not engage in any political activity to secure the appointment except that:
(a) Such persons may:
(i) except as prohibited by law, communicate with the appointing authority, including any nominating commission;
(ii) seek support or endorsement for the appointment from organizations that regularly make recommendations for appointment to the office, and from individuals to the extent requested or required by those specified in section 5B(2)(a), and to the extent not prohibited by law;
(iii) provide to those specified in sections 5B(2)(a)(i) and 5B(2)(a)(ii) information as to the candidate's qualifications for the office;
(b) A nonjudge candidate for appointment to judicial office may, in addition, unless otherwise prohibited by law:
(i) retain an office and membership in a political organization,*
(ii) attend political gatherings, and
(iii) continue to pay ordinary assessments and ordinary contributions to a political organization or candidate and purchase tickets for political party dinners or other functions.
(C) Judges Subject to Retention Election.
(1) A judge or a candidate* subject to retention election may, except as prohibited by law,* when the judge's candidacy has drawn active opposition:
(a) purchase tickets for and attend political gatherings;
(b) contribute to a political organization*;
(c) speak to gatherings on his or her own behalf;
(d) appear in newspaper, television, and other media advertisements supporting his or her candidacy; and
(e) distribute pamphlets and other promotional campaign literature supporting his or her candidacy.
(2) A judicial candidate for retention election whose candidacy has drawn active opposition shall not personally solicit or accept campaign contributions or personally solicit publicly stated support. A judicial candidate for retention election whose candidacy has drawn active opposition may, however, establish committees of responsible persons to conduct campaigns for the candidate through media advertisements, brochures, mailings, candidate forums, and other means not prohibited by law. Such committees may solicit and accept reasonable campaign contributions, manage the expenditure of funds for the candidate's campaign, and obtain public statements of support for his or her candidacy. Such committees are not prohibited from soliciting and accepting reasonable campaign contributions and public support from lawyers. A candidate's committees may solicit contributions and public support for the candidate's campaign no earlier than six months before an election and no later than 30 days after the last election in which the candidate participates during the election year. A candidate shall not use or permit the use of campaign contributions for the private benefit of the candidate or others.
(D) Permissible Political Activity for Incumbent Judges. A judge shall not engage in any political activity except
(1) as authorized under any other section of this Code;
(2) on behalf of measures to improve the law,* the legal system, or the administration of justice; or
(3) as expressly authorized by law.
Canon 5 generally applies to all incumbent judges and judicial candidates.* A successful candidate, whether or not an incumbent, is subject to judicial discipline for the candidate's campaign conduct. An unsuccessful candidate who is a lawyer is subject to lawyer discipline for the candidate's campaign conduct. A lawyer who is a candidate for judicial office is subject to the Nebraska Rules of Professional Conduct §§ 3-501.0 to 3-508.5.
This page was last modified on Wednesday, May 8, 2013