Idaho Supreme Court
|Idaho Supreme Court|
|Method:||Non-partisan election of judges|
For the convenience of the litigants, the court is one of a few "circuit riding" supreme courts in the country. Terms of court are held in Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Moscow, Lewiston, Pocatello, Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Caldwell and Twin Falls.
Electronic records can be found here.
JusticesThe current justices of the court are:
|Justice Daniel Eismann||2001-2019|
|Chief justice Roger Burdick||2003-2017||Gov. Dirk Kempthorne|
|Justice Jim Jones||2004-2017|
|Justice Joel Horton||2007-2021||Gov. Butch Otter|
|Justice Warren E. Jones||2007-2021||Gov. Butch Otter|
- See also: Judicial selection in Idaho
Justices are selected using a non-partisan election of judges method and serve renewable six-year terms. Mid-term vacancies are filled using the commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection. With this method, the Idaho Judicial Council selects a number of qualified candidates and their names are forwarded to the Idaho governor. The governor then appoints one of the candidates to fill the remaining term. The chief justice on the court is selected by a majority of the members of the court and appointed by the governor. The chief justice serves four-year term and is responsible for the administration of the court. Since 1950, 68% of Idaho Supreme Court justices initially reached the bench through appointment rather than election.
Minimum qualifications for election or appointment to the court are:
- be at least 30 years old
- be a United States citizen
- e a resident of Idaho for the last two years
- licensed to practice law in state for at least 10 years
- be a registered to vote
The 1890 Idaho Constitution gives the Idaho Supreme Court the authority to hear appeals of the final rulings of the district courts, as well as from orders from the Public Utilities Commission, Industrial Accident Commission and the Idaho Industrial Commission. The court has original jurisdiction to hear claims against the state and to issue writs of review, mandamus, prohibition, and habeas corpus, and all writs necessary for complete exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. The court may also review decisions of the Idaho Court of Appeals upon petition of the parties or its own motion.
- For in-depth coverage of the state's high court races, see: Idaho Supreme Court elections, 2014
- See also: Idaho judicial elections, 2014
|Candidate||Incumbency||Primary Vote||Election Vote|
|Joel Horton||Yes||65.8%||Expression error: Unexpected > operator.|
|William "Breck" Seiniger||No||34.2%|
|Unopposed||Judge Warren E. Jones (Jones seat)|
- See also: 2010 State Supreme Court elections
| Idaho Supreme Court |
2010 General election results
Jim Jones ran uncontested and was re-elected.
| Idaho Supreme Court |
2010 General election results
In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of Idaho was given a Campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, Idaho received a score of 0.75. Based on the justices selected, Idaho was the 5th most conservative court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.
Rules of practice and procedure in Idaho courts
The following is a list of the rules of practice and procedure used by Idaho courts:
- Idaho Appellate Rules (I.A.R.)
- Idaho Court Administrative Rules (I.C.A.R.)
- Idaho Criminal Rules (I.C.R.)
- Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure (I.R.C.P.)
- Idaho Rules of Evidence
A full list of Idaho court rules can be found here
The Idaho Code of Judicial Conduct sets forth ethical guidelines and principles for the conduct of judges and judicial candidates in Idaho. It consists of five overarching canons:
- Canon 1: "A Judge Shall Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary."
- Canon 2: "A Judge Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in Activities."
- Canon 3: "A Judge Shall Perform the Duties of Judicial Office Impartially and Diligently."
- Canon 4: "A Judge Shall So Conduct the Judge’s Extra-Judicial Activities as to Minimize the Risk of Conflict With Judicial Obligations."
- Canon 5: "A Judge or Judicial Candidate Shall Refrain From Inappropriate Political Activity."
The full text of the Idaho Code of Judicial Conduct can be found here
In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. Idaho earned a grade of F in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.
Removal of justices
Justices may be removed in one of two ways:
- The Idaho Judicial Council investigates a complaints and then recommends to the supreme court the discipline, removal, or retirement of a judge. The supreme court may review the recommendation of the judicial council and take additional evidence. The court may then reject or accept the recommendation and impose a penalty.
- Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the Idaho State Legislature and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Idaho State Senate.
An analysis by Forster-Long, LLC published by the National Association of Women Judges showed that as of February 2011, the Idaho Supreme Court was just one of three high courts in the 50 American states to have no women on its bench.
- News: Idaho Supreme Court says Lewiston stormwater fee is unconstitutional, November 15, 2011
- News: Citing perjury and misconduct, Idaho Supremes toss out murder conviction, May 31, 2011
- News: Idaho Supreme Court suspends attorney's ability to disqualify judges, August 9, 2010
- News: Idaho Supreme Court rules on curfew, April 5, 2010
When Idaho first became a territory of the United States on March 4, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln appointed the first three justices to the Territorial Supreme Court, the precursor of the Idaho Supreme Court. Idaho then became a state in 1890, and the Idaho State Constitution assigned three justices to the court which later increased to five justices (a chief justice and four justices) with the 1919 amendment to the Idaho State Constitution. The composition of the court has not changed since.
- Idaho blogs
- Courts in Idaho
- Idaho judicial news
- Judicial selection in Idaho
- News: Twin Falls County to bring redistricting challenge to Idaho Supreme Court
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "Idaho Supreme Court," accessed June 2, 2014
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "Supreme Court Justices, List," accessed June 2, 2014
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "Idaho Judicial Directory Table of Contents," accessed June 2, 2014
- The Idaho Supreme Court, "Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Idaho," accessed June 2, 2014
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "History & Procedures of the Idaho Supreme Court," accessed June 2, 2014
- Idaho Supreme Court, "About us," accessed May 1, 2014
- Renew America, "Idaho Supreme Court Justice: Citizens too stupid to pick their own judges," May 28, 2007
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "Annual Report 2013," accessed September 19, 2014
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "Annual Report 2012," accessed June 30, 2012
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "Annual Report 2011," June 30, 2011
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "Annual Report 2010," December 31, 2010
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "Annual Report 2009," accessed June 2, 2014
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "Annual Report 2008," accessed June 2, 2014
- State of Idaho Judicial Branch, "Annual Report 2007," accessed June 2,2014
- Stanford University, "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
- Idaho Judicial Council, "Idaho Code of Judicial Conduct," accessed June 5, 2014
- Center for Public Integrity, "State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information," December 5, 2013
- American Judicature Society, "Methods of Selection: Removal of Judges, Idaho," accessed June 2, 2014
- Des Moines Register, "Gender diversity on Iowa's high court is lacking," February 19, 2011
- National Association of Women Judges, "2010 Representation of United States State Court Women Judges," accessed June 2, 2014
|Former||Linda Copple Trout • Gerald F. Schroeder •|