University of Denver

Model Code of Conduct for Judicial Nominating Commissioners

Former Manager, Quality Judges Initiative

In 33 states and the District of Columbia, judicial nominating commissions play a part in selecting at least some judges. States have adopted commission-based appointment of judges, as called for in the O’Connor Judicial Selection Plan, to achieve essential goals—promoting judicial quality, fostering public confidence in courts and judges, and securing support for the judicial branch from the legislative and executive branches. Judicial nominating commissions, and the attorney and public members who serve on them, are the key to ensuring that these goals are met.

To assist nominating commissions in performing their crucial role, and in consultation with a working group of state court judges, former and current attorney and non-attorney members of judicial nominating commissions, and court employees who administer and assist such commissions, IAALS has developed a Model Code of Conduct for Judicial Nominating Commissioners. This Model Code identifies and clarifies the ethical obligations that members of judicial nominating commissions have, addressing such considerations as potential conflicts of interest, the extent of commission members’ political activity, their ex parte communications, and the confidentiality of the commission’s work.