New Hampshire: plan to strip supreme court of rulemaking authority advances out of committee on 8-8 vote

For the 19th time in 20 years, the New Hampshire legislature is considering stripping or limiting the state supreme court’s rulemaking power, despite 3 prior attempts failing at the ballot box.

Article 73-a was added to the New Hampshire constitution in 1978.

The chief justice of the supreme court shall be the administrative head of all the courts. He shall, with the concurrence of a majority of the supreme court justices, make rules governing the administration of all courts in the state and the practice and procedure to be followed in all such courts. The rules so promulgated shall have the force and effect of law.

CACR 13 was advanced without recommendation on an 8-8 tie vote by the House Judiciary Committee. It strikes the provision that supreme court rules “shall have the force and effect of law.” It also limits the court’s power of “governing the administration” of the courts to only “governing the employees.”

The chief justice of the supreme court shall be the administrative head of all the courts. He shall, with the concurrence of a majority of the supreme court justices, make rules governing the administration employees of all courts in the state and the practice and procedure to be followed in all such courts. The rules so promulgated shall have the force and effect of law.

The bill now goes to the full House for a vote on March 9.