American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 50, Issue 3 (2014)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


Judges, legislators, and executives have one thing in common: they like to talk. Unfortunately, they do not talk enough to each other. As a result, the branches of government “move on in proud and silent isolation,” ignoring the nation’s need for interbranch understanding and cooperation.1

The lack of effective interbranch communication does not mean that avenues of communication do not exist. The judiciary interacts with the political branches in many ways, including through judicial-impact statements, state-of-the judiciary messages, judicial opinions, service on legislative and executive commissions, and testifying before—and consulting with—governmental committees and officials.2

Of course, every aspect of a judge’s conduct, including contacts with members of the other branches, is governed by a code of judicial conduct based on the 1972, 1990, or 2007 ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct (hereinafter “1972 Code,” “1990 Code,” and “2007 Code”). Each of these codes restricts a judge’s ability to communicate voluntarily with executive and legislative officials.