New York’s judiciary has adopted a new rule that will prevent the assignment of cases to elected judges “where the assignment would give rise to a campaign contribution conflict.”
Under the rule, attorneys, law firms and parties that have individually contributed $2,500 or more to a judicial campaign could not appear before the judge for a period of two years after the contribution is made. Collective contributions of $3,500 or more are also subject to the rule. New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman reportedly indicated that the strict conflict-of-interest rule makes the state’s judiciary the first in the nation to systematically oversee judicial campaign contributions. He was quoted as saying, “This rule promotes public confidence in the independence, fairness and impartiality of the judiciary. It makes New York a leader in national efforts to address head-on the issue of monetary contributions to judicial campaigns.” See Law360, June 28, 2011.