Election 2016: Georgia Amendment 3 – should the legislature set the membership of the state’s judicial disciplinary commission? Most states say no.

On the ballot this November is Georgia’s Amendment 3. The amendment would repeal the existing Art. VI, Sec. 7, Para. 7 of the state constitution that establishes the state’s judicial disciplinary commission (Judicial Qualifications Commission) and readopt it with one major revision: membership of the JQC would be left to the legislature.

The current provision specifically provides for a commission made up of

(1) Two judges of any court of record, selected by the Supreme Court;
(2) Three members of the State Bar of Georgia who shall have been active status members of the state bar for at least ten years and who shall be elected by the board of governors of the state bar; and
(3) Two citizens, neither of whom shall be a member of the state bar, who shall be appointed by the Governor.

All of that language would be repealed and replaced with

The General Assembly shall by general law create and provide for the composition, manner of appointment, and governance of a Judicial Qualifications Commission…

While all states at this point have some sort of judicial disciplinary body in place, the vast majority have opted not to allow the legislature to tamper directly with the membership of these entities.

The vast majority of states either place the membership directly into the constitution (24 states), as Georgia currently has, or the membership is set by the state’s supreme court/court of last resort via court rule (10 states). Some states use a combination.

Only 16 states give the legislature the power to set the membership and, as will be discussed in an upcoming blog post, most legislatures have opted to only give about 1/3 of the seats to the legislature itself to fill.

Details on who picks what members to what judicial disciplinary bodies below the fold.

Membership specified in constitution

State Entity/Entities Membership set by
Alabama Judicial Inquiry Committee & Court of the Judiciary Constitution (Amendment 328)
Alaska Committee on Judicial Conduct Constitution (Art. IV, Sec. 10)
Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct Constitution (Art. 6.1)
California Commission on Judicial Performance Constitution (Art. 6, Sec. 8)
Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline Constitution (Art. VI, Sec. 23)
Delaware Court on the Judiciary Constitution (Art. V, Sec. 37)
Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission Constitution (Art. V, Sec. 12)
Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission Constitution (Art. VI, Sec. 7, Para. 7)
Illinois Courts Commission & Judicial Inquiry Board Constitution (Art. VI, Sec. 15)
Louisiana Judiciary Commission Constitution (Art. V, Sec. 25)
Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities Constitution (Art. IV, Sec. 4A)
Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission Constitution (Art. VI, Sec. 30)
Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance Constitution (Art. VI, Sec. 177-A)
Missouri Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline Constitution (Art. V, Sec. 24)
Montana Judicial Standards Commission Constitution (Art. VII, Sec. 11)
Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualification Constitution (Art. V, Sec. 28)
Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline Constitution (Art. VI, Sec. 21)
New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission Constitution (Art. VI, Sec. 32)
New York Commission on Judicial Conduct Constitution (Art. VI, Sec. 22)
Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary โ€“ Trial Division & Appellate Division Constitution (Art. 7A, Sec. 2)
Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board & Court of Judicial Discipline Constitution (Art. V, Sec. 18)
Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct Constitution (Art. V, Sec. 1-a)
Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct Constitution (Art. VI, Sec. 31)
Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics Constitution (Art. V, Sec. 6)

Membership specified in court rule

State Entity/Entities Membership set by
Delaware Preliminary Committee of the Court on the Judiciary Court Rule (Del. R. P. Ct. of Judiciary 3)
Hawaii Commission on Judicial Conduct Court Rule (Supreme Court Rule 8.1)
Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications Court Rule (Supreme Court Rule 602)
Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission Court Rule (Supreme Court Rules, Chapter IV)
Maine Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability Court Rule (Me. R. Committee on Jud. Resp. & Dis Order.)
Maryland Judicial Inquiry Board Court Rule (18-403)
New Hampshire Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Conduct Court Rule (Supreme Court Rule 38)
New Jersey Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct Court Rule (Rule 2:15)
Ohio Board of Professional Conduct Court Rule (Ohio Gov. Jud. Rule II)
South Carolina Commission on Judicial Conduct Court Rule (South Carolina Appellate Court Rules 502)
Vermont Judicial Conduct Board Court Rule (Vt. Disciplinary Rule 4)
West Virginia Judicial Hearing Board & Judicial Investigation Commission Court Rule (W. Va. Jud. Disciplinary Proc., Rules 1.1 & 3.1)

Membership set by statute

State Entity/Entities Membership set by
Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Committees Statute (16-10-401)
Connecticut Judicial Review Council Statute (Sec. 51-51k)
Idaho Judicial Council Statute (1-2101)
Indiana Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications Statute (33-38-13-2)
Iowa Judicial Qualifications Commission Statute (602.2102)
Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct Statute (M.G.L. Chapter 211C)
Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards Statute (490A.01)
North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission Statute (7A-375)
North Dakota Commission on Judicial Conduct Statute (27-23-02)
Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints (may only make recommendations) Statute (20 Okl. St. ยง 1653)
Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability Statute (1.410)
Rhode Island Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline Statute (8-16-1)
South Dakota Judicial Qualifications Commission Statute (16-1A-2)
Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct Statute (17-5-201)
Utah Judicial Conduct Commission Statute (78A-103)
Virginia Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission Statute (17.1-901)
Wisconsin Judicial Commission Statute (757.83)