Subchapter M. PROHIBITED POLITICAL ACTIVITY BY COURT-APPOINTED EMPLOYEES GUIDELINES REGARDING POLITICAL ACTIVITY BY COURT-APPOINTED EMPLOYEES
29.472. Prohibition of Partisan Political Activity.
29.473. Termination of Employment.
29.474. President Judge.
The provisions of this Subchapter M adopted November 24, 1998, effective immediately, 28 Pa.B. 6068, unless otherwise noted.
§ 29.471. Definitions.
(a) The term partisan political activity shall include, but is not limited to, running for public office, serving as a party committee-person, working at a polling place on Election Day, performing volunteer work in a political campaign, soliciting contributions for political campaigns, and soliciting contributions for a political action committee or organization, but shall not include involvement in non-partisan or public community organizations or professional groups.
(b) The term court-appointed employees shall include, but is not limited to, all employees appointed to and who are employed in the court system, statewide and at the county level, employees of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, Court Administrators and their employees and assistants, court clerks, secretaries, data processors, probation officers, and such other persons serving the judiciary.
§ 29.472. Prohibition of Partisan Political Activity.
(a) Court-appointed employees shall not be involved in any form of partisan political activity.
(b) This prohibition shall not apply to court-appointed employees who are duly sworn Court-appointed full-time masters and members of Board of Viewers, who are attorneys in good standing admitted to the practice of law in this Commonwealth, who may become candidates for higher judicial office. Said employees shall, during such candidacy, be subject to the provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct and, particularly, Canon 7, which governs judicial campaigns.
§ 29.473. Termination of Employment.
Except as provided in paragraph 2(b), above, henceforth, a court-appointed employee engaging in partisan political activity shall cease such partisan political activity at once or shall be terminated from his or her position. In the event an employee chooses to become a candidate for any office, such employee shall be terminated, effective the close of business on the first day of circulating petitions for said office.
§ 29.474. President Judge.
The President Judge of each appellate court or county court of common pleas shall be responsible for the implementation of these guidelines and shall be subject to the review of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Board for failure to enforce.
Dissenting Statement by Mr. Justice Castille (joined by JJ. Nigro and Newman) filed with the Order of the Supreme Court, dated November 24, 1998, reaffirming the Guidelines Regarding Political Activity by Court-Appointed Employees. I respectfully dissent to this amendment to the Guidelines regarding political activity by Court-appointed employees. I believe that allowing court-appointed employees to participate in elective partisan political activity presents, at a minimum, the appearance of impropriety. By not requiring court-appointed employees to resign their respective positions in order to campaign on a partisan basis, this amendment gives rise to the inescapable conclusion that the judicial system itself is involved in partisan electoral politics, thereby raising an appearance of bias. I believe that the better practice is to require the resignation of any court-appointed employee who wishes to seek elective office, as the Guidelines presently require.
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