The Post recently reported on the involvement of U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright's husband in her judicial decision-making {"The Judge's In-House Counsel," front page, Feb. 9; "Judge's Husband Says Post Exaggerated His Influence," news story, Feb. 10}. If the facts reported by The Post are true, then Judge Wright has committed several egregious violations of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, an ethical -- not legal -- matter.

The Post reported that last summer, when lawyers in the Paula Jones case came to Judge Wright's chambers for a closed meeting to discuss the case, they were joined by a surprise observer -- the judge's husband, Robert Wright. He has subsequently admitted attending this meeting. Some of these lawyers later told colleagues that they were stunned by her husband's presence. Indeed, they should have been stunned. He should not have been there.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Judge Wright has allowed non-parties to become involved in matters before her. Only last month, she met privately with former Arkansas senator David Pryor concerning the continued incarceration of Susan McDougal. In that instance, Judge Wright made a public statement expressing her regret that she participated in this private meeting.

In an interview with a Post reporter, Robert Wright asserted that he and his wife frequently discuss the legal matters pending before her, and that he provides her with suggestions on how she should rule on these matters. He also explained the meaning of his wife's legal rulings and offered predictions on how she would rule in the future. He stated, for example, that his wife's ruling a couple of weeks ago to exclude from the Jones trial any evidence concerning Monica Lewinsky's alleged affair with President Clinton was meant to signal that, in the future, his wife will block attempts to turn the Paula Jones trial into a symposium on the president's personal life. For Judge Wright to allow her husband to exert such influence on her judicial rulings, then to explain the meaning of these rulings and finally to predict how she will rule in the future, are flagrant violations of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.

Canon 2(B) of the code directs Judge Wright not to allow family relationships to influence her judicial conduct or judgment. It also directs her to avoid acting in a manner that might convey the impression that family members are in a position to influence her. Apparently, she has chosen to ignore these prohibitions.

Canon 3(A) of the code prohibits a federal judge from engaging in any private communications with non-parties concerning the merits of a pending lawsuit. Indeed, it specifically prohibits a judge from communicating privately about the merits of a case with lawyers, law teachers or any other persons who are not participants in a proceeding.

While a judge may discuss judicial proceedings with other judges, and with court employees who aid the judge in her adjudicative responsibilities, these people are part of the judicial system, and their conduct is governed by ethical rules. Robert Wright is neither part of the judicial system nor bound by the judicial system's strict ethical rules. Canon 3(A) directs both judges and court personnel subject to the judge's direction to "avoid public comment on the merits of a pending or impending action." Unnecessary contact with the media on pending matters creates public disrespect for the judiciary, and rightly so.

It is time for Judge Wright to accept that the code of conduct applies to her. CHARLES W. NIHAN IRA P. ROBBINS Washington The writers are law professors at American University's Washington College of Law.