Monday, January 26, 2015
State Supreme Court Bars Judges From Belonging to Youth Organizations That Discriminate
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Supreme Court of California unanimously voted to eliminate an exception in Canon 2C of the California Code of Judicial Ethics that permitted judges to belong to nonprofit youth organizations that practice invidious discrimination, the court staff said Friday in a release.
The Supreme Court adopted the recommendation of its Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Ethics to eliminate an exception to an ethics rule that prohibits judges from holding membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The prior rule permitted an exception for nonprofit youth organizations, which had been urged by a number of judges active in groups such as the Boy Scouts of America.
The proposed rule change was sent out for public comment last year, and the change was supported by the California Judges Association. The amended rule is now consistent with the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct, the release noted.
Judges will have until January 21 of next year to comply with the new rule.
“The only remaining exception to the general rule is membership in a religious organization,” Fourth District Court of Appeal Justice Richard D. Fybel, chair of the advisory committee, said in a statement. “One other exception—belonging to a military organization—was eliminated as well, because the U.S. armed forces no longer restrict military service based on sexual orientation.”
Under the California Constitution, the Supreme Court adopts the Code of Judicial Ethics, which establishes standards of ethical conduct for state judges on and off the bench and for candidates for judicial office.
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