I mentioned last year a series of efforts in the Hawaii House and Senate to change the way in which the state’s judges are selected. Those bills appear to have returned in 2013.
First, some background.
Currently, the state uses a version of the merit selection system. For the Supreme Court, Court of Intermediate Appeals, and Circuit Court that means a list of 4-6 names given to the Governor by the Judicial Selection Commission, subject to Senate confirmation. For the District Court the process is much the same: 6 names given to the Chief Justice, subject to Senate confirmation. Additional terms for all 4 courts are granted by the Judicial Selection Commission (no elections and no involvement by the governor, chief justice, or senate).
In 2012 several efforts were made to change the process including reducing to 3 the number of candidates submitted to the governor or chief justice.
Most failed to advance, but the ones that did move focused on public disclosure of all those seeking office either by requiring the Judicial Selection Commission release the names of everyone seeking to fill a vacancy or requiring the Governor release the names given for final selection.
Those disclosure bills are back, along with one proposing to simply end the state’s judicial selection system for the supreme court only and switch to a statewide election instead.
Details below the jump.
|2012 Bill||2013 Bill||Description||2012 Activity||2013 Activity|
|HB 1647||n/a||Provides for disclosure of the list of judicial nominees by the Governor upon receipt of the names from the judicial selection commission.||Died in House Judiciary Committee.|
|HB 2155||n/a||Requires the judicial selection commission to release the commissions list of judicial nominees at the time it submits the list to the governor or chief justice.||Died in House Judiciary Committee.|
|HB 2213||n/a||Provides for disclosure of the list of judicial nominees by the Governor and Chief Justice upon receipt of the names from the judicial selection commission.||Died in House Judiciary Committee.|
|HB 2343||HB 420||Requires the judicial selection commission to publicly disclose its list of nominees for appointment to the office of the chief justice, supreme court, intermediate appellate court, circuit courts, or district courts concurrently with its presentation of that list to the governor or the chief justice.||Approved by House Judiciary Committee 1/31/12.||In House Judiciary Committee.|
|SB 2205||n/a||Lowers the number of nominees presented by the judicial selection commission to fill state court judicial vacancies: For Supreme, Intermediate Appellate & Circuit: from 4-6 to specifically 3. For District: from not less than 6 to specifically 3.||Approved by full Senate 2/6/12.|
|SB 2209||n/a||Requires the judicial selection commission to disclose the names of and other statistical information regarding active nominees and applicants to fill justice and judge vacancies.||Approved by full Senate 2/8/12. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 3/20/12.|
|n/a||SB 798||For supreme court only, repeals existing judicial selection system and replaces with statewide election.||n/a||In Senate Judiciary Committee.|