Judicial Nominating Commissions in the States

Nominating commissions, one element of the O'Connor Judicial Selection Plan, are used in selecting at least some judges in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Not all states with nominating commissions adopt all four elements of the O'Connor Plan.

  • For more about the legal authority behind the nominating commissions used to select supreme court justices, click here.
  • For more about the members of the nominating commissions used to select supreme court justices, click here.
  • For more about the transparency/openness of the nominating commissions used to select supreme court justices, click here.

In 12 states and the District of Columbia, nominating commissions are used in selecting all judges:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Nebraska
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming

In 9 states, nominating commissions are used in selecting some judges, depending on the court on which they serve:

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee

In 8 states that use contested elections to select judges, a commission-based gubernatorial appointment process is used only in filling vacancies that occur between elections:

  • Alabama
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • West Virginia

In at least 10 additional states, a commission advises the governor in making judicial appointments, but the governor is not required by law to appoint a commission-recommended candidate:

  • Georgia
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin

 

Components of the O'Connor Judicial Selection Plan:

Judicial Nominating Commission

How It Works | States with Nominating Commissions

Gubernatorial Appointment

How It Works | States with Gubernatorial Appointment

Judicial Performance Evaluation

How It Works | States with Performance Evaluation

Retention Election

How It Works | States with Retention Elections