Efforts to change state constitutions to remove/alter Judicial Council or Supreme Court rulemaking authority – Part 2

This second installment looks at efforts to change state constitutional grants of rulemaking authority to courts of last resort, typically called the “supreme court”, or judicial councils.

My colleagues here at the National Center have a listing of all such provisions here.

Hawaii to Maryland below the fold.

Hawaii

The supreme court shall have power to promulgate rules and regulations in all civil and criminal cases for all courts relating to process, practice, procedure and appeals, which shall have the force and effect of law. (Art. VI, Sec. 7)

HB 3007 of 1999 sought to amend the supreme court’s rule making power with respect to the practice of law, specifically to provide that any Hawaii resident would be allowed to take the bar exam if certified by two attorneys in the state. The bill died in committee.

Idaho

The state has no constitutional provision regarding rule making authority.

Illinois

General administrative and supervisory authority over all courts is vested in the Supreme Court and shall be exercised by the Chief Justice in accordance with its rules…The Supreme Court shall provide by rule for expeditious and inexpensive appeals. (Art. VI, Sec. 16)

Over the years efforts have been proposed to split the Illinois Supreme Court into two civil and criminal courts (SJR 18 of 2001) or the same court with civil and criminal divisions (SJR 80 of 1995). In so doing the rulemaking authority vested in the Illinois Supreme Court would either be divided between the two separate courts or shared between the two divisions. SJR 18 of 2001 did advance out of committee and was narrowly defeated in the full Senate 33-22-2 (35 votes required).

Indiana

The state has no constitutional provision regarding rule making authority.

Iowa

The state has no constitutional provision regarding rule making authority.

Kansas

The state has no constitutional provision regarding rule making authority.

Kentucky

The Supreme Court shall have the power to prescribe rules governing its appellate jurisdiction, rules for the appointment of commissioners and other court personnel, and rules of practice and procedure for the Court of Justice. The Supreme Court shall, by rule, govern admission to the bar and the discipline of members of the bar. (Sec. 116)

HB 493 of 2012 would have added a provision that “Each court rule, policy, or procedure shall be published and available to the public as a public record. Any court rule, policy, or procedure which is not published is null, void, and unenforceable.” It failed to advance out of committee.

HB 763 of 1998 attempted to make the rules created by the supreme court subject to amendment and approval by the legislature. SB 109 and the similar SB 111 of 1998 put limits on the supreme court’s rule making power regarding appeals in criminal cases (SB 109) or capital cases in particular (SB 111), including length of time for appeals and overall time limits for all such cases. None of the bills advanced out of committee.

Louisiana

The supreme court has general supervisory jurisdiction over all other courts. It may establish procedural and administrative rules not in conflict with law and may assign a sitting or retired judge to any court. (Art. V, Sec. 5(A))

No effort has been made to alter this provision in the last decade.

Maine

The state has no constitutional provision regarding rule making authority.

Maryland

The Court of Appeals from time to time shall adopt rules and regulations concerning the practice and procedure in and the administration of the appellate courts and in the other courts of this State, which shall have the force of law until rescinded, changed or modified by the Court of Appeals or otherwise by law. The power of courts other than the Court of Appeals to make rules of practice and procedure, or administrative rules, shall be subject to the rules and regulations adopted by the Court of Appeals or otherwise by law. (Art. IV, Sec. 18)

No effort has been made to alter this provision in the last decade.