Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Judge Elrod on Federal Judges and the Federalist Society

A follow-up to my two posts (Part 1 and Part 2) yesterday.

I’ve learned that Fifth Circuit judge Jennifer Elrod, who is a member of the Committee on Codes of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United States, recently opined publicly that the Committee’s Advisory Opinion No. 116 does not bar federal judges from taking part in Federalist Society events. Here’s what she had to say ten days ago in the course of moderating a panel on ethics at the Federalist Society’s annual convention:

As another side note, there may be an elephant in the room for some of you, wondering, “What in the world is a federal judge doing moderating a Federalist Society panel?” You may have seen some things in the newspaper about such things. I want you to know that I take ethical responsibilities very seriously, and in fact, I am privileged to be an appointee on the Judicial Codes of Conduct Committee appointed by the Chief Justice. So I have personally studied Advisory Opinion 116. And I can’t speak for others, but I can speak for myself and I believe it is entirely ethical to be engaged with lawyers and scholars leading in the field in nonpartisan fashion in the wonderful way that the Federalist Society does. So I am glad to be here. [Video at 3:25-4:22.]

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