Rule 3.6 - Affiliation With Discriminatory Organizations

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(A) A judge shall not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination.

(B) A judge shall not use the benefits or facilities of an organization if the judge knows or should know that the organization practices invidious discrimination. A judge’s attendance at an event in a facility of an organization that the judge is not permitted to join is not a violation of this Rule when the judge’s attendance is an isolated event that could not reasonably be perceived as an endorsement of the organization’s practices.

Comment Text: 

COMMENT

[1] A judge’s public manifestation of approval of invidious discrimination gives rise to the appearance of impropriety and diminishes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. A judge’s membership in an organization that practices invidious discrimination creates the perception that the judge’s impartiality is impaired.

[2] Invidious discrimination will generally be demonstrated if an organizations’s exclusionary membership practices are arbitrary, irrational, or the result of hostility or animus toward an identifiable group. Whether an organization practices invidious discrimination is a complex question to which judges should be attentive. The answer cannot be determined from a mere examination of an organization’s current membership rolls, but rather, depends upon how the organization selects members, as well as other relevant factors, such as whether the organization is dedicated to the preservation of religious, ethnic, or cultural values of legitimate common interest to its members, or whether it is an intimate, purely private organization whose membership limitations could not constitutionally be prohibited.

[2A] A judge may ordinarily be a member of an organization which is in fact and effect an intimate, purely private organization whose membership limitations could not be constitutionally prohibited, even though that organization is a single sex or single race organization. Likewise, a judge may ordinarily be a member of an organization which is dedicated to the preservation of religious, ethnic or cultural values of legitimate common interest to its members, even though in fact its membership is limited. Similarly, a judge may have or retain membership with a university related or other living group, even though its membership is single sex. However, public approval of, or participation in, any discrimination that gives the appearance of impropriety and diminishes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary violates this Code. For example, an organization that conducts lobbying or advocacy on behalf of its members may raise such concerns. Ultimately, each judge must determine in the judge's own conscience whether participation in such an organization violates Rule 3.6.

[3] When a judge learns that an organization to which the judge belongs engages in invidious discrimination, the judge must resign immediately from the organization.

[4] A judge’s membership in a religious organization as a lawful exercise of the freedom of religion is not a violation of this Rule.

[5] This Rule does not apply to national or state military service.

Associated Court Rules: 
Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct
Group Title: 
CANON 3