Surprise effort by NC Senate GOP to expand Supreme Court loses after House balks, likely to return

This morning’s meeting of the North Carolina Senate Rules committee to consider SB 10, a bill to “eliminate obsolete boards and commissions” turned to a different direction when Republicans put forth an effort to expand the state’s Supreme Court by 2 seats and let the newly elected Republican governor fill the new vacancies. According to … Continue reading Surprise effort by NC Senate GOP to expand Supreme Court loses after House balks, likely to return

South Carolina constitutional amendment would automatically appropriate 1% of general fund to judiciary every year

Concerns over court funding have been ongoing for years, even decades. However, the idea of getting the judiciary’s budget out of legislative arena and guaranteeing a set minimum level of funding it almost as old. The latest such effort is in South Carolina, where SB 72 of 2013 would guarantee 1% of all general revenue … Continue reading South Carolina constitutional amendment would automatically appropriate 1% of general fund to judiciary every year

Merit selection: comprehensive state-by-state review of efforts to modify or end existing systems

The debate over merit selection systems has reached a head in the last several years, with strenuous efforts at play to create merit selection systems in states which lack them coupled with vigorous efforts in other states that have merit selection to heavily modify or end their systems. Over the next two days I’m going … Continue reading Merit selection: comprehensive state-by-state review of efforts to modify or end existing systems

2011 Year in Review: Alterations of/to state supreme courts

Whether called court packing or court reform, the idea of “adjusting” the membership or structure of a state court of last resort in order to register legislative displeasure is nothing particularly new. Over the last 5 years, at least 5 such efforts have been made to either remove justices from the existing court or add … Continue reading 2011 Year in Review: Alterations of/to state supreme courts

2011 Year in Review: Merit selection is dead (long live merit selection)

Judicial selection in general has been a bone of contention both for the Federal and state legislatures recently and no particular method of selection has been the subject of more scrutiny than merit selection. Yet while there have been several pushes to change substantially, or outright end, various merit selection systems there has been a … Continue reading 2011 Year in Review: Merit selection is dead (long live merit selection)

Why Senate confirmation for state judicial nominees? Why not House? Or joint?

Numerous state legislatures in 2011 that have a version of merit selection (Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma) or have considered adopting merit selection (Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) have put in provisions for Senate confirmation. Additionally, Rhode Island (HB 5675) considered removing the state senate’s existing confirmation power with respect to a trial court (Superior Court) and transferring the … Continue reading Why Senate confirmation for state judicial nominees? Why not House? Or joint?

Florida and Virginia: Letting retired judges/justices appear as counsel & practice law in state courts

Mandatory retirement ages plus increasing life expectancy is meaning more judges having years of potential active practice after they forced to relinquish their robes. In some states they may be potentially recalled as senior judges or appointed as hearing officers. However, in several states, retired judges and justices who are taking state retirement may not … Continue reading Florida and Virginia: Letting retired judges/justices appear as counsel & practice law in state courts

State-by-State 2011 Legislative Year in Review: Florida

New laws affecting the courts enacted by the Florida legislature in 2011, plus a constitutional amendment to appear on the 2012 ballot, include the following: HJR 7111 (Constitutional Amendment) Selection: Retains judicial nomination commissions but requires for Supreme Court justices only nominees selected by the governor be subject to senate confirmation. Rule Making: Allows legislature … Continue reading State-by-State 2011 Legislative Year in Review: Florida

Florida Governor vetoes $400,000 “study” of splitting state’s supreme court

As readers know I have been tracking extensively the recent efforts by the Florida House Speaker to split the state’s supreme court. When it became clear his plan (HJR 7111) was not going to make it, a last minute budget amendment was added to provide a $400,000 “study” of the items in HJR 7111 and … Continue reading Florida Governor vetoes $400,000 “study” of splitting state’s supreme court

Florida Senate rejects effort to split supreme court, does approve modified amendment on partyline vote

HJR 7111 cleared the Florida Senate on Monday, but not without major revision. Below is a recap of what is now in and out. Out Jurisdiction & Structure Changes: Gone is any reference to expanding the state’s Supreme Court from 7 to 10 and dividing them into two panels of five (civil and criminal) each … Continue reading Florida Senate rejects effort to split supreme court, does approve modified amendment on partyline vote