From yesterday's Memorandum to the Bureau of Administration of the United States Courts, citing the Justice Committee report on the Code of Conduct report
(D) The Committee… (distributed) a new draft Opinion No. 117… (which) indicated that formal affiliation to ACS or Federal Society, whether as a member or in a leadership role, is not compatible with the Code of Conduct For Judges in the United States, and while membership of the ABA Department of Justice is not necessarily inconsistent with the Code, members of the judiciary should carefully monitor the activities of the ABA to determine whether membership is compatible with the Code and to determine whether a position of the ABA could jeopardize the impartiality of the affiliated judge and require a refusal in a particular matter … The committee received comments (on the draft) from around 300 judges expressing a variety of views on the issues raised.
At its July 2020 meeting, the committee considered the comments and, after in-depth deliberations, voted to submit and not publish draft opinion No. 117. The committee decided to file the matter as comments on the question of membership in legal organizations showed a lack of consensus among judges. Instead of trying to give advice on membership in certain organizations, the committee decided to rely on the advice it gave to judges earlier on how judges should analyze membership in these types of organizations. See e.g. B. Report No. 82: "Joining organizations".
The Code of Conduct encourages judges to remain active in the community and advocacy as long as these activities do not conflict with judicial obligations. The Committee maintains its previous guidelines, which are contained in the published opinions and in the compendium of selected opinions. This advice shows that the Committee consistently believes that judges can properly belong to legal organizations that represent a wide range of views.
Still, caution dictates that judges face a world of emerging technology, deep ideological disputes, growing suspicion of individuals and institutions, and an ever-changing landscape of competing political, legal, and social interests. You must remain vigilant with problems related to membership in organizations. When deciding on membership, a judge should periodically review, review, and verify that membership in a particular organization complies with the basic values of the assessment, taking into account that the mission and goals of organizations may change over time . The Committee's previous guidelines advised judges to take into account issues such as refusal commitments and any burdens on the integrity of the judiciary, including how membership in an organization can imply the impartiality of a judge and how membership in an organization can imply the judge or can reflect the judiciary as a whole.
The nation relies on an impartial and independent judiciary. In accordance with the judge's oath, each judge should ensure that all membership decisions are made in such a way that they reflect the highest ideals of the profession, as reflected in the Code of Conduct. The heading set in the Committee's previous opinions and guidelines is the appropriate way to analyze membership decisions. In the end, however, it is best to leave these considerations to the judgment of the individual judges.
Special bonus: the memorandum is the most fascinating! Look at the fascia on the seal at the top of the memo (and yes, the fascists were actually named after the fascia):