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South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
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Advisory Opinions

ADVISORY COMMITTEE
ON STANDARDS OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT


OPINION NO. 8 - 2014

RE: Propriety of a full-time Magistrate serving on the advisory board for a high school’s Center for Law and Global Policy Development.

FACTS

A Magistrate judge has been asked to serve on the advisory board for a high school’s Center for Law and Global Policy Development. The Center was developed for the advanced study of “public policy and the practical administration of the law” for various high schools.  The Center focuses on “case studies involving social, environmental, and economic issues impacting citizens on the local, national, and international levels” as well as “the technological skills needed to navigate the professional needs of policy creation/implementation and legal research/practice.”  As a board member, the judge would advise the Center on the “real world” application of the lessons and classes in order to help the Center accomplish the goal of preparing students for further studies in the legal field.

CONCLUSION

A judge may serve on the advisory board of a highs school’s Center for Law and Global Policy.

OPINION

Canon 4B(3) states that a judge may “speak, lecture, teach and participate in other extra-judicial activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice and non-legal subjects, subject to the requirements of this Code.”  Canon 4C(2) Rule 501 SCACR, prohibits a judge from accepting an appointment to a governmental committee or commission or other governmental position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy on any matters other than the law or the administration of justice.   Previously, this Committee has considered whether a judge could serve on a county school board (Opinion 24-2000) and found that service was prohibited because the school in question was not a law school.  In 3-2013, we determined that service on advisory board of an elementary school was inappropriate because it included making recommendations concerning District policies and informing the school or district administration on pertinent personnel matters.  

In this case, unlike the situations in our previous decisions, the board here does serve an educational institution that is focused on issues of law.  Furthermore, the judge would not be setting policy for the Center or the school itself or making personnel recommendations, but would merely be advising on the lessons or classes needed to prepare students for further studies in the law.  Thus, the judge may serve on such a board.

 

s/_____________________________________
A. CAMDEN LEWIS, CHAIRMAN

s/_____________________________________
JOCELYN B. CATE

s/_____________________________________
EDWARD G. WELMAKER,III

May 6, 2014