Non-state week 2011: A look at legislation affecting the non-state courts of the United States

Since its establishment in 2006 as a set of spreadsheets, Gavel to Gavel maintained itself as “A review of state legislation affecting the courts.” However, this has admitted and regrettably given short shrift to the other parts of the United States that are not states:

  1. Territory of American Samoa
  2. Territory of Guam
  3. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  4. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
  5. United States Virgin Islands
  6. District of Columbia

This week will be dedicated to rectifying that oversight, starting today with a look at the Chief Justice of Guam’s state of the judiciary and his proposal to put a new form of judicial funding in the territory’s “Organic Act” (effectively, the constitution for the territory).

Judicial Retirement Plans/Pensions Week: 2011

Around this time last year, I ran a special series for a week of posts related to judicial retirement plans/pensions (see here). It was so remarkably well received I have decided to do it again this year, starting today with the Northeastern states, followed by Midwestern, Southern, and Western each day.

New Feature: State of the Judiciary Addresses

Gavel to Gavel focuses on legislation affecting the courts. Yet in many or most states (depending on year) the chief justice has the opportunity to come into the legislature or addresses legislative leaders directly in the form of State of the Judiciary Addresses. This year, Gavel to Gavel the Blog will be tracking them with links to give some idea of what the chief justices are asking from the legislatures.

The National Center for State Courts has an archive of 2011, 2010, and previous years State of the Judiciary addresses located here.

Out of hiatus, back in production!

Greetings all!

It has been awhile since last this blog was updated, but with the state legislatures set to come back into session, the blog is being renewed and activated yet again.

This legislative session promises to be very hectic, with all states set to come in with very changed compositions and budget woes aplenty.

Gavel to Gavel the publication will start to come out in its free weekly editions starting this Thursday (December 9).  Those interested in subscribing are encouraged to do so at

Your thoughts, ideas, posts, and questions are welcome. You can reach me at

Bill Raftery
Editor, Gavel to Gavel

FL: Courts and foreclosures

Gavel to Gavel: The Blog is designed to be more expansive, in terms of both content and contributors, than the original e-publication. Writers will be key contributors on the front lines of legislation and the courts.

This week marks the first such contribution from Cristina Alonso, an attorney with Carlton Fields and co-chair of the NCSC Young Lawyers committee.

Florida’s legislature is not yet in session, but already has several bills to contend with foreclosures and the courts. SB 1778 and HB 75 provide procedural requirements and limitations for plaintiffs, defendants, and courts in certain foreclosure actions, including a requirement for court-ordered mediation. The bills would require that the Florida Supreme Court create “the form and content notices, affidavits, certificates, liens, and other forms required” and require Circuit Clerks to “provide all forms, together with instructions in English and Spanish, to a pro se defendant seeking assistance in any foreclosure action. Such forms shall be provided at no cost to the defendant.”  Both bills are currently pending in various committees of both chambers.

Judicial Removal Week: 2010

Over the last several years, a variety of efforts have been made to remove judges from the bench for their decisions. A Gavel to Gavel Focus piece from 2007 (located here) examined many of those efforts. Since 2007, few similar attempts were made, however 2009 and 2010 are proving a upsurge in impeachment or other removal attempts, with five such efforts.  This week, we’ll be examining the legislative activity surrounding them.