New Hampshire: House committee votes 12-0 against plan for legislative confirmation of judges; concern for “politicizing of appointments”

A plan to require New Hampshire judicial nominees be confirmed by the state’s legislature was rejected unanimously by the House Legislative Administration committee last week.

Currently the state’s judges are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the independently elected Executive Council. CACR 5 called for judges to be nominated by the Governor or Council and confirmed by the legislature in joint session.

The committee report (see page 5) recommending the bill be deemed “inexpedient to legislate” (i.e. rejected) by the full House noted that allowing either the Governor or Council to nominate created the possibility of dueling appointments.

As for the joint session element, the committee report noted “concern about the politicizing of appointments” as well as the amount of time judicial vacancies might remain in such a system.

The full House is expected to vote on the bill this Thursday.