Judges

Rule 2.3: Bias, Prejudice, and Harassment

(A) A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office, including administrative duties, without bias or prejudice.

(B) A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, or engage in harassment, including but not limited to bias, prejudice, or harassment based upon race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation, and shall not permit court staff, court officials, or others subject to the judge’s direction and control to do so.

(C) A judge shall require lawyers in proceedings before the court to refrain from manifesting bias or prejudice, or engaging in harassment, based upon attributes including but not limited to race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation, against parties, witnesses, lawyers, or others.

(D) The restrictions of paragraphs (B) and (C) do not preclude judges or lawyers from making legitimate reference to the listed factors, or similar factors, when they are relevant to an issue in a proceeding.

  • The ABA tracks state variations of Rule 2.3 
  • Cynthia Gray, Professional Boundaries in the Courthouse, Judicial Conduct Reporter, Vol. 40 No. 2, Summer 2018. This articles discusses ethics opinions in California, Florida, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania that address inappropriate actions by judges toward staff.
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    The Supreme Court of California amended the Code of Judicial Ethics to include a prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression:

    "Gender identity” means a person’s internal sense of being male, female, a combination of male and female, or neither male nor female.

    "Gender expression” is the way people communicate or externally express their gender identity to others, through such means as pronouns used, clothing, appearance, and demeanor.