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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2009-13 (March 20, 2009)
Recommendations; Disclosure/Disqualification; Name, Use of; Canons 2 & 3; C.G. S. § 51-39a

Issue: May a Judicial Official provide a letter of recommendation to the state’s two United States Senators with respect to a person applying for a position with the federal court system?

Response: Based upon the facts presented, the Committee determined that the Judicial Official may not provide a letter of recommendation, but may offer to have his or her name listed as a reference. If the Judicial Official is contacted and asked to provide a letter of recommendation, he or she may do so, subject to the following conditions: (1) the Judicial Official has personal knowledge of the candidate’s qualifications that are relevant to the particular position for which the candidate is applying, (2) the candidate is not a relative within the meaning of the Code or C.G.S. § 51-39a, (3) the Judicial Official indicates that the opinions expressed represent the personal opinions of the Judicial Official, (4) neither the candidate nor the U.S. Senators have cases pending before the Judicial Official at the time the recommendation is provided or for a reasonable period of time after the submission of the letter of recommendation, and (5) if the Judicial Official believes that recusal would be required in order to comply with condition (4) because his or her fairness would be impaired, and that recusal is likely to be frequent, the Judicial Official should not provide the letter of recommendation. See JE 2009-05 & JE 2009-08.

Committee on Judicial Ethics



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