Judicial selection in New Hampshire

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Judicial selection in the states
Judicial selection in New Hampshire
Seal of New Hampshire.png
New Hampshire Supreme Court
Method:   Comm-selection, Gov. nomination with appointment after vote of executive council
Term:   Until age 70
New Hampshire Superior Court
Method:   Comm-selection, Gov. nomination with appointment after vote of executive council
Term:   Until age 70
New Hampshire District Court
Method:   Comm-selection, Gov. nomination with appointment after vote of executive council
Term:   Until age 70
New Hampshire Probate Courts
Method:   Comm-selection, Gov. nomination with appointment after vote of executive council
Term:   Until age 70

Selection of state court judges in New Hampshire occurs through a form of merit selection. Three groups are involved in the appointment process: the New Hampshire Judicial Selection Commission, who compiles a list of qualified candidates, the governor, who nominates a judge from that list, and the New Hampshire Executive Council, who has the final say in each appointment.[1]

Judges in New Hampshire serve until age 70.[1]

Supreme and Superior Court

See also: Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection

The 5 justices of the New Hampshire Supreme Court and the 22 justices of the New Hampshire Superior Court are appointed to serve until they reach the age of 70. When a vacancy appears on the court, the governor nominates a successor from a list submitted by the selection commission. The executive council must then vote to approve the nomination and make the appointment.[1]

Selection of the chief justice

The chief justice of the supreme court is chosen by seniority, rotating every five years to the next most senior justice who has not recently served. A justice may choose not to serve a term as chief, but no justice may serve two consecutive terms as chief.[2]

The chief justice of the superior court from among the associate justices to serve for five years, though he or she may be reappointed. Like any other justice, the chief is appointed by the governor and council.[3]

Qualifications

No qualifications are specified for these courts other than that judges must be under the age of 70.[1]

Limited jurisdiction courts

See also: Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection

New Hampshire's limited jurisdiction courts (the district courts and probate courts) utilize the same selection methods that the supreme and superior courts use. They serve until the age of 70 and are chosen by the governor and executive council.[4][5]

District judges are required to be members of the state bar. No qualifications are specified for probate judges.[4]

Judicial selection commission

In 2013, Governor Maggie Hassan established the New Hampshire Judicial Selection Commission with Executive Order 2013-6. The commission was created to recommend qualified judicial candidates for the governor to nominate for judicial vacancies. Nine to eleven members serve on the commission, all of which are appointed by the governor and serve terms of three years. Members may serve additional terms if invited to do so by the governor. Each executive council district is represented on the commission.[6]

Executive council

As outlined in the state constitution, the New Hampshire Executive Council has the final word on all judicial appointments. The five council members are chosen every two years in partisan elections to advise the governor in several policy areas, including appointment of judges, commissioners and justices of the peace.[7]

History

Judicial selection in New Hampshire has undergone several changes since the inception of the judiciary. Below is a timeline noting the various stages, from the most recent to the earliest:

  • 2001: Supreme court justices serve as chief justice for rotating five-year terms based on seniority.
  • 2000: Jeanne Shaheen becomes the first New Hampshire governor to create a judicial nominating commission by executive order. Governor John Lynch followed suit in 2005.
  • 1792: A mandatory retirement age of 70 is imposed on all judges.
  • 1784: All judges are appointed for life by the governor and the executive council.[8]

Selection of federal judges

United States District Court judges, who are selected from each state, go through a different selection process than that of state judges.

The district courts are served by Article III federal judges who are appointed for life, during "good behavior." They are usually first recommended by senators (or members of the House, occasionally). The President of the United States of America nominates judges, who must then be confirmed by the U.S. Senate in accordance with Article III of the United States Constitution.[9]

Step ApprovedA Candidacy Proceeds DefeatedD Candidacy Halts
1. Recommendation made by Congress member to the President President nominates to Senate Judiciary Committee President declines nomination
2. Senate Judiciary Committee interviews candidate Sends candidate to Senate for confirmation Returns candidate to President, who may re-nominate to committee
3. Senate votes on candidate confirmation Candidate becomes federal judge Candidate does not receive judgeship

See also

External links

References

New HampshireNew Hampshire Supreme CourtNew Hampshire Superior CourtsNew Hampshire Circuit CourtsNew Hampshire Probate CourtsNew Hampshire District CourtNew Hampshire Family DivisionUnited States District Court for the District of New HampshireUnited States Court of Appeals for the First CircuitNew Hampshire countiesNew Hampshire judicial newsNew Hampshire judicial electionsJudicial selection in New HampshireNewHampshireTemplatewithoutBankruptcy.jpg