University of Denver

April Legislative Roundup: Judicial Selection and Tenure

Former Manager, Quality Judges Initiative

With many state legislatures around the country wrapping up their 2014 sessions, IAALS Online offers this update on the progress of measures related to the selection and tenure of state judges.

  • The Alabama legislature passed, and the governor signed, a bill that creates a rebuttable presumption that judicial recusal is required based on the proportion of campaign support a judge received from a party. HB 543
  • In Alaska, the sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment that would have increased the size of the Alaska Judicial Council (the state's nominating and performance evaluation commission) and allowed the governor to appoint a majority of its members withdrew the measure due to insufficient support. SJR 21/HJR 33
  • Florida's legislature approved for the November ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow an outgoing governor to make “prospective” judicial appointments. That is, it would authorize a governor whose term is ending to name replacements for judges whose terms are ending at the same time. Sixty percent voter approval is required. SJR 1188
  • In Louisiana, the senate and a house committee have approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would eliminate the state's mandatory retirement age for judges of 70.  SB 11/HB 96
  • House leaders in Minnesota declined to move forward the Impartial Justice Act, which would have established commission-based gubernatorial appointment with retention elections and performance evaluation for the state's judges. HF 1083/SF 1082
  • The Oklahoma senate approved a bill that would allow legislative leaders, rather than the state bar, to appoint the six lawyer members of the state's judicial nominating commission, but the house rejected the measure. SB 1988