Massachusetts constitutional convention coming back into session, may look at changes to judicial selection

Massachusetts hold constitutional conventions every year or nearly so. This year there has already been one session (May 11) during which Proposal 12 was introduced to end life tenure for judges and replace it with 7 years terms and reconfirmation (details in this post).

The next session is July 13. Proposal 12 is back, along with some others affecting how the commonwealth picks its judges. The state uses a unique feature where the governor nominates and an independently elected Executive Council confirms the appointment. Of particular note:

  • Proposal 2 (SB 14 in regular session) would require the Executive Council “establish and maintain its own official website. The content of the Executive Council’s website shall contain, at minimum, such information including, without limitation, prior to confirmation, information on judge designates and all others seeking confirmation before the Executive Council substantially similar in quality to that utilized by the Executive Council in making its confirmation decisions…”
  • Proposal 3 (SB 15 in regular session) would end the Executive Council outright. Judges would  be subject to senate confirmation instead.
  • Proposal 8 (HB 511 in regular session) would end the Executive Council, but unlike Proposal 3, would transfer all powers held by the Council to the senate.

The proposals may take on new momentum after the Lt. Gov. had to break a tie of the Council on a recent judicial appointment.