Selection and Qualification Process for State Judges, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

This essay will discuss the selection process and the qualifications required for judges in two states. It will also document circumstances through which a judge can be suspended or kicked out of the ruling cambers.

The selection process in Washington is very strict for the benefits of the society in general. Governor Gregoire is the one responsible for judicial appointments in Washington. It is very crucial for the important procedures to be followed to strictly. There are four levels of courts in Washington from which an applicant may want to be selected. These include the Supreme Court, municipal court, court of appeal and the district courts. For candidates who are running for full terms in supreme courts, court of appeal and superior courts method of nonpartisan election is used.

The selection of chief justice is also important, and it is done through the use of peer voting among for applicants in Supreme Court, court of appeals and superior court. There are also application methods for interim vacancies. The use of gubernatorial appointment is used for applications in interim vacancies. This is applicable for superior court, court of appeals and Supreme Court. The interim judges may decide to apply for office and stand for election. This is done in the next general elections, and the successor holds office for the remainder of the unexpired term.

The geographic selection in Washington is statewide for Supreme Court, district for court of appeal and county for superior court. The number of districts for court of appeal is nine while for superior court is nil. The number of circuits for superior court is thirty. The number of judgeships for Supreme Court is nine, twenty two for court of appeals and a hundred and eighty six for superior court.  The only method of retention for Supreme Court, court of appeals and superior court are by reelection process. For one to be selected, an individual must be qualified.

For the Supreme Court one need to be licensed to practice by the state and the retirement age is seventy five. For the court of appeals, the applicant needs to have been a resident of that the district for at least one year and also to have been practicing in the state for at least five years (Volcansek & Lafon, 1988). For the superior court, one need to be licensed by the state and the retirement age is 75.

There are only two ways by which a Washington judge can be removed. One way is by investigations launched by the commission on judicial conduct due to misconduct, disability or allegations on corruption. The final decision is made by the Supreme Court as to either suspend or fire or retire the individual. Joint resolution of the legislature may also remove a judge. Three fourths of the members must concur to remove a judge.

In the state of Virginia, the system of judicial is made up of three court levels; the trial, the appellate and the limited jurisdiction court.  The legislature is the body responsible for selection of judges although the democrats were in control of the selection until 1995. The method of selection, retention and the lengths of terms is all found in Article VI, Section 7 of the Virginia Constitution. Seven judges are selected for Supreme Court, eleven in the Court of Appeals and 157 in the Circuit Court. All the judges are elected through judicial elections. The length of time served by judges varies.: 12 years for Supreme Court, 8 yrs for Court of Appeals and also 8 years for the Circuit Court. All the judges are retained in position through legislature.

The selection of the chief justice is done through voting by the peer judges. After his or her appointment, the chief justice term of office is 4 years in the Supreme Court and Court of appeals but only two years in the Circuit Court. Candidates who seek reelection are interviewed by the Senate and House of Delegates courts of justice committees followed by voting of the Senate and the full house. The Candidate with the most votes wins and is then appointed to take the position.

During the session of the general assembly, the available vacancies are filled through elections of legislative. When legislature is not in session, the vacancies are filled through the appointment by the governor. An election of the appointees then takes place during the next legislative session.

According to the constitution Article VI, Section 7, the qualifications of the judges are provided. For a Supreme Court Judge, he or she should be a resident of the state. He or she should have five years prior to their appointment or selection. He or she should have been a member of the commonwealth bar or who prior to the effective revised constitution date were elected. They should also have a maximum age of 70 years. The qualifications also apply for the judges of the Court of Appeals where candidate is a resident of the Virginia State, and has a maximum age of 70 years and is also a member of the state bar for 5years and above. In the circuit court, the qualifications of the judges are that they must be a member of not only the state but also of the circuit. They should also be a member of the state bar for not less than five years.  The maximum age they should be is 70 years.

The removal of the judges from their positions is done in two ways; one is through the House of Delegates and the other is through Supreme Court.

If there have been reported complaints about judges, The commission which inquires and reviews the judicial, starts an investigation of the complaints which may, be either a misconduct of the judicial or a serious disability either  mentally or physically that interferes with a judge’s duties. Through conducting hearings and gathering the relevant information or evidence, the commission determines if the charges are substantial. If the findings of the charges by the commission are found to be significant, the filling of a formal complaint is done with the Supreme Court. Here, the decision made by the supreme court according to the fillings may dismiss it or may rule that the judge retire, censure, or be removed from office. The second way in which a judge may be removed is through the House of Delegates. Here, voting is done regarding the judge, and if two thirds vote of the senate is for the removal of the judge, then they are removed.

References

American Judicature Society. Promoting the effective administration of justice. Methods of Judicial Selection: Virginia. Retrieved 5 May, 2012 from <http://www.judicialselection.us/judicial_selection/methods/selection_of_judges.cfm?state=VA>

Confirmation hearings on federal appointments: hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Fifth Congress, first session, on confirmation of appointees to the federal judiciary. Retrieved 5 May, 2012 from <http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-110shrg37658/pdf/CHRG-110shrg37658>. 

Constitution of Virginia. (2011). Retrieved 5 May, 2012 from  <http://legis.state.va.us/Laws/search/ConstOfVa.pdf>.

Volcansek, M. L., & Lafon, J. L. (1988). Judicial selection: the cross-evolution of French and  American practices. New York: Greenwood Press.

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