State’s 1st ‘gay’ Supreme Court justice defies ethics code

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Barbara Lenk, widely heralded as the first openly “gay” judge on the state’s top court, spoke at a homosexual advocacy group’s fundraiser only two days after her confirmation, a move some critics are saying is a clear violation of judicial ethics.

Earlier this year, and shortly after being promoted from the state’s Appellate Court, Lenk was one of the speakers at the 2011 Annual Dinner of the Massachusetts Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Bar Association.

The organization’s own newsletter later confirmed that the dinner helped raise over $13,000 for its annual Alec Gray Scholarship, awarded to a law student who “demonstrates a commitment to and involvement in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.”

But the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conducts’ Code of Judicial Conduct specifically forbids a judge from using “the prestige of the judicial office” to be a speaker at such an organization’s fundraising events.



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