Rebuilding Justice
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Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

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In This Section

Advancing empirically informed models for choosing, evaluating and retaining judges

Judicial Appointments by State Governors

Appointment by the governor is an element of the O’Connor Judicial Selection Plan. In the 23 states and D.C. that always use the O'Connor Plan to choose at least some judges, the governor makes the appointment from the list of candidates submitted by the judicial nominating commission, and in 10 states with contested elections, this process is used to fill vacancies between elections. In 5 states, the governor always appoints judges of at least some courts at his or her own discretion, without input from a judicial nominating commission, and in 17 elective states, this process is used to fill vacancies between elections or legislative sessions.

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Judicial Retention Elections in the States

Retention elections are an element of the O’Connor Judicial Selection Plan. They are used in 15 O’Connor Plan states for judges who are seeking additional terms. Retention elections are also used in 3 states where judges are first chosen in partisan elections and in two states where the governor appoints judges.

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Federal Judicial Screening Committees

Federal judicial screening committees are used by senators (and a few House members) in 21 of the 50 states and in the District of Columbia to vet would-be federal district judges whom they might recommend to the White House.

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Cover Art: National Conference on Evaluating Appellate Judges

National Conference on Evaluating Appellate Judges
Preserving Integrity, Maintaining AccountabilityDecember 1, 2011

This post-conference report discusses the various approaches currently in place for evaluating appellate judges and justices, and identifies themes, recommendations, and areas for future work in appellate judicial performance evaluation.

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Cover Art: Options for Federal Judicial Screening Committees, Second Edition

Options for Federal Judicial Screening Committees, Second Edition
Where They Are in Place, How They Operate, and What to Consider in Establishing and Managing ThemSeptember 1, 2011Russell Wheeler and Rebecca Love Kourlis

Twenty-two jurisdictions already use judicial screening committees. This report describes the committees in place and their significant variations in membership, appointment process, and, to the degree possible, operations. It also suggests why senators and their staffs might consider using a committee, outlines decisions they might face in structuring and appointing a committee, and identifies issues they and committee members might encounter in operating a committee.

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IAALS - Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

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