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State of New Hampshire

Judicial Selection in the States: New Hampshire

Overview

News

The last several years have seen numerous efforts to modify or simply abolish merit selection/commission-based judicial appointive systems and 2015 was no exception. In these...

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Plans to change the way North Carolina s Supreme Court justices are elected appear to be closing in on an elect/appoint then retention race system....

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South Carolina is one of two states (Virginia is the other) where the legislature elects judges. Under existing law (2-19-70(A)) currently serving members of the...

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Courtesy of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of...

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The New Hampshire judiciary consists of a supreme court, a superior court, a district court, and a probate court. The district and probate courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. New Hampshire judges are nominated by the governor and confirmed by the executive council, a five-member body elected by the people to advise the governor. In 2000, Governor Shaheen became the first New Hampshire governor to create a judicial nominating commission by executive order. In 2005, Governor Lynch followed her example with an executive order creating a judicial selection commission.

In 2000, four justices of the New Hampshire Supreme Court came under fire. One justice resigned, two others faced impeachment hearings, and a fourth was impeached but not convicted. These events prompted a series of reform proposals, including the governor's judicial selection commission, aimed at strengthening the public's confidence in the judiciary. Two reform efforts succeeded: a requirement that justices of the supreme court serve as chief justice for rotating five-year terms based on seniority, and the creation of an independent disciplinary panel for judges. Failed proposals included the establishment of a judicial nominating commission by constitutional amendment or statute, renewable terms for judges, regular judicial performance review, and senate confirmation of judicial nominees.