Texas State Seal


Texas State Seal


December 14, 2018



Use of “Associate Judge” in Political Advertising

We address in this opinion whether an associate judge, who is also a candidate for state district judge, may wear judicial robes or refer to himself in political advertising in the following manner: “John Smith, Associate Judge, 1000th District Court, Texas County.”

Section 255.006 of the Election Code states:

That law generally does not prohibit a judge from using the title “judge” in political advertising or campaign communications for another judicial office as long as the communications do not suggest that the judge holds a public office the person does not hold. See, e.g., Ethics Advisory Opinion No. 171 (1993) (a part-time municipal judge seeking the office of district or county court-at-law judge may use the title “judge” in political advertising); see also Elec. Code
ยงยง 251.001(16), (17) (defining “political advertising” and “campaign communication”).

For purposes of this opinion, the issue is whether wearing judicial robes or the use of the title “associate judge” would represent that the judge holds a public office, not whether the judge is actually a judge. In this instance, wearing judicial robes or using a reference to the associate judge as “Associate Judge, 1000th District Court, Texas County” does not, by itself, represent that the judge holds an office the judge does not hold, and therefore would not violate section 255.006 of the Election Code.