FedSoc Blog

Tennessee Special High Court Upholds Constitutionality of State’s Appellate Judge Election Process

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by Publius
Posted March 18, 2014, 4:37 PM

The Chattanoogan reports:

 A five-member Special Supreme Court convened solely to hear a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the way appellate judges are initially chosen and later stand for reelection to office ruled on Monday, that the current retention election system for choosing appellate judges does not violate the state’s Constitution.

The court also held that the issue raised in the lawsuit regarding how appellate judges are initially selected could not be decided as part of this proceeding, because the statutory authority for that initial judicial selection process – the Judicial Nominating Commission – expired in June 2013. Since the Judicial Nominating Commission is no longer the law of this state, there is no longer a real, live issue for the court to decide.

Also challenged in the suit was statewide voting for the judges of the Court of Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals. The appeal asserted that the state “Constitution requires that these judges be elected by the qualified voters of the District in which they reside, and to which they are assigned.” The court held that the judges of these intermediate appellate courts are not assigned to any one district and that each of these courts serves the entire state and, therefore, statewide elections are constitutionally appropriate.

The lawsuit, filed in 2012 by John Jay Hooker of Nashville, challenged the “Tennessee Plan,” specifically the authority of Gov. Bill Haslam to appoint Jeffrey S. Bivins to the Court of Criminal Appeals, maintaining that it violated the Tennessee Constitution. A Davidson County trial court found the process for selecting and voting for appellate judges to be constitutional, but held that district, rather than statewide, elections were required by the Constitution. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision as to voting by district, determining instead that statewide elections were proper, but upheld the trial court in all other respects. . . .

For information on how judges are selected state-by-state, see the Federalist Society's State Courts Guide.

Kansas Gov. Brownback Praises New Judicial Selection Law at Federalist Society Event

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by Publius
Posted September 20, 2013, 9:31 AM

The Houston Chronicle reports:

Gov. Sam Brownback told members of a conservative legal organization Thursday that recent changes in how state Court of Appeals judges are chosen had led to a more Democratic process, and afterward he said he would support similar changes for the Kansas Supreme Court.

His appearance at a Federalist Society luncheon in Overland Park comes the same month that the state Senate confirmed his chief counsel, Caleb Stegall, to a new seat on the Court of Appeals under a new law. Brownback advocated changing the state's judicial selection system, and the law that took effect in July allows him to appoint the judges on the state's second-highest court, subject to Senate confirmation.

"Now I think we have a system that is more of a vote of the people," Brownback said, describing the new system as a federal model. "I think that federal system worked pretty well. Now it gets hung up in the politics. There's no question that that happens as well. But we do have an active participation by the executive branch and the legislative branch. You've got two of your elected bodies that are engaged in it, and I think that is a good long-term system that has worked well for our country overall."

Under the old system, which is still used to pick Kansas Supreme Court judges, an attorney-led selection commission screened applicants for vacancies and named three finalists, with no role for legislators after the governor's appointment. Critics said the process leads to the selection of well-connected, centrist or left-of-center attorneys favored by the Kansas Bar Association. But supporters argue the process minimizes political considerations and focuses on candidates' legal skills and professional demeanor.

"I think some of us are concerned that by injecting politics into the selection of our judiciary we undermine the institutional integrity of that institution," Tristan Duncan, a constitutional law attorney for Shook Hardy & Bacon, told the governor.

Brownback and other conservative Republicans also sought to change the selection system for the Kansas Supreme Court. But while the Senate approved a proposed constitutional change to have the governor appoint members of the Supreme Court, the measure stalled in the House.

Brownback said he anticipated the issue would come back up in the upcoming session. Rep. Craig McPherson, an Overland Park Republican on the Judiciary Committee, agreed, saying after the speech that the issue "would be an important thing for us to take up."

"I think there are a lot of our constituents who are concerned," McPherson said. "I think a lot of people would prefer to be able to hold elected officials accountable for the decisions that are made, and there is a better opportunity under the federal model to do that."

Brownback, who hadn't yet decided whether he would push the issue as part of his annual State of the State address, said he would be open to either a federal model or direct elections of Kansas Supreme Court judges.

After the event, attorney Greg Musil of the law firm Polsinelli said with the changes he was "concerned about the overall independence and respect of the judiciary." He said people who become frustrated with the judiciary "don't realize that that's part of the constitutional framework — just like the governor is frustrated with the Legislature and vice versa."

"They each have different stakeholders and a different role," Musil said.

To learn more about states' different judicial selection laws, see the Federalist Society's State Courts Guide.

Gov. Brownback to Speak at Kansas City Federalist Society Lawyers Chapter Event Sept. 19

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by Publius
Posted September 17, 2013, 5:28 PM

The Lawrence Journal-World reports:

Gov. Sam Brownback will speak on judicial selection during a discussion sponsored by The Federalist Society, a conservative legal group that has been involved in the debate on changing the way judges are selected in Kansas.

The discussion will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Overland Park Sheraton, 6100 College Boulevard.

Brownback, a Republican, successfully pushed for approval of a new system where the governor names judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals who are then submitted to the Senate for approval.

In the first appointment under the new system, Brownback selected his chief counsel Caleb Stegall, who was confirmed by the Senate on a party-line vote.

Under the former system, a nominating commission screened candidates and submitted three possible nominees for the governor to chose. Supporters of this system said it removed politics from the selection process, but Brownback had criticized this system because he said the nominating commission was dominated by attorneys.

Brownback and his allies also want to apply the new system to the Kansas Supreme Court, but that would require a change in the state constitution.

To RSVP for the event, click here.

Should Ballots Include Partisan Labels for Judicial Candidates?

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by Publius
Posted February 06, 2013, 11:44 AM

Carrie Severino comments at NRO's Bench Memos:

North Carolina is an important front in the ongoing battle over our nation’s state courts, as I’ve written about before.  Last Thursday, Republican North Carolina state senators Jerry Tillman and Thom Goolsby presented legislation to introduce partisan affiliations to judicial elections. Senate Democrat Leader Martin Nesbitt Jr. has also expressed support for the reform. Senator Goolsby explains that without partisan affiliations, “There are places where folks put themselves on the ballot [and] nobody knows who they are. Nobody knows where they come from. They’ve not been vetted by anybody or any party, and they just pop up on ballots.” 

These reform efforts may invoke immediate outrage—isn’t this legislation just a transparent move to inject partisan political and corporate interests into elections? The empirical evidence on this topic suggests otherwise. Contrary to conventional wisdom, partisan labels actually provide useful information for voters, while also managing to preserve judicial integrity. 

Professor Chris Bonneau’s empirical survey of judicial selection backs up the utility of partisan judicial elections. In short:  

  • Nonpartisan elections are less contested and less competitive than partisan elections, and thus are “less able to effectively hold judges accountable.”

  • Nonpartisan elections are more expensive than partisan ones.

  • Nonpartisan elections have less voter participation, because voters do not otherwise have useful information about the judicial candidates at the ballot box.

  • Judges elected in nonpartisan elections are less insulated from public opinion, and are thus more likely to have their decisions align with popular opinion. 

Law Professors Choi, Gulati, and Eric Posner, in “Professionals or Politicians: The Uncertain Case for an Elected Rather than Appointed Judiciary,” have similar findings. They found that judges elected in partisan systems are more productive than “nonpartisan” judges, dissent more, and are more “independent,” or willing to challenge the opinions of their “co-partisans” than nonpartisan judges.

North Carolina’s judicial elections have been completely non-partisan since 2002, after a series of reforms that Senator Goolsby believes was designed to reduce the Republican influence over the state judicial branch. A prior version of the reform passed the North Carolina Senate in a bipartisan fashion, before dying in the North Carolina House. Now that Republicans control the governor’s mansion and the General Assembly, the reforms stand a better chance of passage. I wish Senators Goolsby and Tillman the best of luck, and will continue to report on this important reform.

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal Enters Legal Battle over Louisiana Supreme Court

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by Publius
Posted August 14, 2012, 11:35 AM

According to The Times-Picayune:

At the last possible minute - and even a little later than that - Gov. Bobby Jindal Monday entered the dispute over who will be the next chief justice, joining a motion on behalf of the state Supreme Court's power to make that decision on its own without the intervention of the federal court. It was a surprising development because as recently as Friday evening, it appeared the governor was going to stay out of the controversy over whether Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson has a rightful claim to be the next chief justice, with Jindal spokeswoman Shannon Bates saying, "It's an issue for the courts to decide."

But in a court pleading Monday, Jindal's executive counsel, Elizabeth Baker Murrill, joined four attorneys from the New Orleans firm of Christovich & Kearney, who had been assigned by the state to represent members of the Supreme Court aside from Johnson, and made it plain that the governor believes it is a an issue for the state, and not federal court to decide.

"The State of Louisiana, Office of the Governor, takes no position on who should become the next Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, a Louisiana Constitutional issue which the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana will decide. The position of the State of Louisiana, Office of the Governor, is, however, that deciding this Louisiana constitutional question is the sole province for the Louisiana Supreme Court," reads the memorandum filed Monday at one minute past the filing deadline of 5 p.m. set by federal Judge Susie Morgan. Alanah Hebert, an attorney for Johnson, said the governor's intervention also comes five days after Morgan's deadline last Wednesday for the Christovich attorneys to establish that they really were representing the state of Louisiana.

In a filing at 4:27 p.m. Monday, the Christovich attorneys, responding to Morgan's demand that they demonstrate that they truly represent the state of Louisiana, wrote that, "To avoid further ambiguity regarding the State's representation of its interests in this matter, the Governor is entering these proceedings to represent the State through undersigned counsel and the Governor's Executive Counsel."

The governor's intervention followed conversations between the lawyers for the state Supreme Court justices and the governor's counsel.

"After consulting with the courts and as stated in the pleadings filed today, it is important that this Louisiana-specific constitutional question be decided by Louisiana courts," said Bates. "As for who should be the next chief justice, that is a matter for the courts to decide."

With this, the political battle over the Louisiana Supreme Court would now appear to be fully joined, with Gov. Jindal and the U.S. Justice Department on opposite sides.

The Christovich attorneys - Kevin Tully, E. Phelps Gay, Elizabeth Cordes and H. Carter Marshall - who last week were rebuked by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell for identifying themselves in the court papers as "special assistant attorneys general," in this latest filing identify themselves as "special counsel for the state of Louisiana and the Office of the Governor."

Under the state Constitution, the most senior justice on the Supreme Court serves as chief justice. One of Johnson's colleagues, Justice Jeffrey Victory, contends that while Johnson has served with the court for more years than he has, he is actually more senior because her early years were served under the terms of the Chisom consent decree that settled a voting rights lawsuit, in which she was an appellate judge exclusively assigned to the Supreme Court.

An amicus brief filed in the case Monday by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, echoed the U.S. Justice Department's own filing in the case, arguing that Johnson's seniority and her claim to be the next chief justice are beyond dispute.

"The issue before this Court is straightforward: whether Justice Bernette Johnson, who has undeniably served the longest on the Louisiana Supreme Court ... after Chief Catherine Justice Kimball, should succeed the Chief Justice once she retires in January 2013," reads the NAACP brief.

According to the brief, for the Louisiana Supreme Court to now create a "proceeding" to determine who is more senior would infringe on the federal court's authority to implement the Chisom consent decree, and "any legal conclusions reached by the Supreme Court that are inconsistent with this Court's authoritative interpretation of the Consent Judgment would be invalid."

Gov. Chris Christie in Stalemate with NJ Senate Dems

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by Justin Shubow
Posted June 11, 2012, 8:50 AM

The Star-Ledger reports on the alleged price New Jersey is paying for the battle between Governor Chris Christie and the state's Democratic Senators:

With the bitter political stalemate between Gov. Chris Christie and Senate Democrats over state Supreme Court nominees showing no signs of ebbing, the top rung of New Jersey’s judiciary is down two justices for more than three months — something that hasn’t happened in four decades.

Christie — who has vowed to reconfigure a court he criticizes as being too liberal and activist — has had only one of his three nominees approved as Democrats demand partisan balance.

During his first 875 days in office, New Jersey’s Supreme Court has had a full complement of seven justices for only 122 days. And for the past 101 days, there have been only five justices.

Legal experts say this very public dispute threatens to tarnish the Supreme Court’s national reputation for setting precedents and handing down landmark rulings. And they worry the fallout could eventually hurt New Jersey residents who rely on judges for fair decisions.

"More than for the lawyers and judges, the stakes are much higher for the citizens of the state," said Robert Williams, a law professor at Rutgers-Camden. "It’s not good for the citizens. Whatever they think of an activist court or a conservative court, they’d like to have a fair shake. They don’t want to have to wonder, ‘Will I get punished because of some larger political ax to grind?’"

Democrats say Christie started the fight when he refused to reappoint Justice John Wallace Jr., a Democrat, in May 2010, when Wallace was just one year and a few months shy of reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. Lawyers and lawmakers were stunned and outraged — including Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who, like Wallace, is a Democrat from Gloucester County.

For more on New Jersey and other state's courts, see FedSoc's StateCourtsGuide.com.

Spring 2012 State Court Docket Watch Now Online

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by Publius
Posted May 15, 2012, 7:22 AM

In an effort to increase dialogue about state court jurisprudence, the Federalist Society presents the Spring 2012 State Court Docket Watch. This newsletter is one component of the State Courts Project, presenting original research on state court jurisprudence and illustrating new trends and ground-breaking decisions in the state courts. This edition contains updates on important state court decisions in Wisconsin, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Montana, Georgia, and California.

Michigan Justice Diane Hathaway Under Scrutiny

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by Justin Shubow
Posted May 14, 2012, 2:44 PM

At Bench Memo's Carrie Severino highlights a Michigan judge in the spotlight for possible improprieties:

Michigan Supreme Court justice Diane Hathaway is under scrutiny for a series of financial transactions that could subject her to investigation by ethical and law-enforcement authorities. As Ross Jones of local ABC affiliate WXYZ reports:

[R]ecords show in a little over a year, [Justice Hathaway] owned four homes: one in Florida, and three in Grosse Pointe Park.

The homes are a part of a dizzying property shuffle that experts say raise ethical and legal questions, but Justice Hathaway has been ducking those questions for more than six weeks.

. . . .

[Lawyer] Howard Young says when his clients have asked about moving assets out of their names to qualify for a short sale , he’s told them to be cautious. 

“Those are typically fraudulent transfers, because they are done with the intent to delay, hinder, or defraud creditors,” said Young.

“And we are very careful to advise against making such transfers because even as an attorney, you can well be considered a co-conspirator in a fraud and that has significant ethical issues, and the state bar is going to come looking,” he said.

Judges are held to a high standard of conduct in Michigan, and according to the state judicial code, they need to avoid even the “appearance of impropriety.”

Scott Johnson at Powerline Blog relays a more detailed account of what happened, from the perspective of a lawyer who says the transactions “could well be Federal and state felony bank fraud.” Justice Hathaway seems to be referring questions to a top criminal-defense lawyer . . . .

Former Iowa Supreme Court Justices Defend Same-Sex Marriage Ruling at Award Ceremony

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by Justin Shubow
Posted May 08, 2012, 7:59 AM

The Des Moines Register reports:

Three Iowa justices ousted from their jobs in the wake of their decision to legalize same-sex marriage were rewarded Monday with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award — something their chief critic immediately labeled as “a slap in the face to the people of Iowa.”

The awards were presented at the Kennedy presidential library in Boston to former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and former justices David Baker and Michael Streit, all of whom were booted in a 2010 retention vote. Their removal marked the first time an Iowa Supreme Court justice had not been retained since 1962, when the merit selection and retention system for judges was adopted.

Ternus, Baker and Streit are the first Iowans to receive the award.

The audience at the presentation in Boston included three sitting Iowa Supreme Court justices — Chief Justice Mark Cady and Justices David Wiggins and Daryl Hecht — and enough friends and relatives of the honorees that Carolyn Kennedy, president of the library foundation’s board of directors, thanked “half the state of Iowa” for attending.

The former justices, making some of their most candid post-ouster comments since 2010, all struck warning notes in describing being fired for an unpopular decision that they continue to regard as correct.

 

Tennessee Legislature Rejects the Missouri Plan for Selecting Judges

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by Publius
Posted April 30, 2012, 2:41 PM

At National Review's Bench Memos, Carrie Severino reports on important news on how Tennessee selects its judges:

I am very pleased to report that the Tennessee legislature has given overwhelming approval to a constitutional amendment that would replace Tennessee’s current method of selecting judges, the Missouri Plan, with a modified federal method.  

Under the terms of the amendment — which must be approved by a two-thirds vote in the next legislative session and then by a majority of voters in the 2014 election — judges in Tennessee would be nominated by the governor, confirmed by the legislature, and then stand for retention elections every eight years. To avoid logjam or obstruction of judicial nominees, the amendment provides for confirmation by default if a nominee is not rejected by the legislature within 60 days.

This is a significant moment in Tennessee’s history.  The state has been in some form of debate over methods of selection for nearly 40 years, with the debate growing especially intense in the last several years. As I have explained before, there are Tennesseans who feel very strongly that judges should be elected and others who are equally committed to the Missouri Plan. It has not helped matters that the state uses the Missouri Plan despite text in the Tennessee Constitution stating that “judges of the supreme court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state.”  

So Governor Bill Haslam, House Speaker Beth Harwell, and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey called for a constitutional amendment that would end the debate. After a great deal of discussion and negotiation, a modified federal method emerged as a compromise that garnered bipartisan support from more than two-thirds of the state’s legislators in both chambers.  And unlike so many compromises that take on the worst elements of all sides of an issue, this compromise took on the best elements of the method set forth in the U.S. Constitution by our nation’s Founding Fathers.  JCN is proud to have been a vocal supporter of that principled compromise.  

The Federalist Society recently created a new website devoted to covering the selection of judges in all 50 states.  You can find it at StateCourtsGuide.com.

Will Missouri Amend the Missouri Plan for Judicial Selection?

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by Justin Shubow
Posted April 13, 2012, 7:27 AM

The Federalist Society recently launched a website, State Courts Guide, dedicated to exploring how each state selects its judges.  At Bench Memos, Carrie Severino comments on the possibility that Missouri will alter its current and influential selection method, which is called, appropriately enough, the Missouri Plan:

The Missouri legislature is considering a constitutional amendment to modify the way judges in Missouri are selected. The legislation under consideration, sponsored by conservative Missouri Senator Jim Lembke, would significantly improve the judicial selection process by making some slight changes to the commission that nominates judges. Under the state’s current method of selection, known as the Missouri Plan, a seven-member commission sends the governor a list of three nominees from which he must select a judge to fill any appellate vacancy. The structure and left-wing dominance of the nominating commission (the distinctive feature of the Missouri Plan) has led many to argue that the state should amend the constitution to either directly elect judges or have them selected under something mirroring the advice/consent model set forth in the U.S. Constitution. 

The proposed constitutional amendment before the Missouri Senate falls short of either of those alternatives, but it would make some very important improvements. Primarily, it would increase the number of citizens who serve on the nominating commission and restagger the terms of those commissioners so that they would serve concurrently with the sitting governor. The governor’s judicial nominee would then go before the Missouri Senate, where the Senate would have the option to reject by a two-thirds vote. In short, whereas the balance of the authority over judicial selection currently resides in the unelected and left-leaning legal guild, these reforms would shift some authority to the chief executive and the legislature, in accordance with the principles articulated by the founding fathers in the debates over the U.S. Constitution.

Tennessee Debates the Selection of Judges

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by Publius
Posted April 10, 2012, 7:05 AM

Tennessee is debating how its judges are to be selected.  Carrie Severino weighs in at NRO's Bench Memos:

During the debates on the U.S. Constitution, James Madison proposed the appointment of judges by the president with the concurrence of the Senate. Madison believed “this would unite the advantage of responsibility in the Executive with the security afforded in the 2d. branch agst. any incautious or corrupt nomination by the Executive.”  Alexander Hamilton echoed that statement in Federalist 76, explaining that nomination by the chief executive was superior to nomination by a collective body because:

 The sole and undivided responsibility of one man will naturally beget a livelier sense of duty and a more exact regard to reputation. He will, on this account, feel himself under stronger obligations, and more interested to investigate with care the qualities requisite to the stations to be filled, and to prefer with impartiality the persons who may have the fairest pretensions to them. 

By the end of this week, we will probably know whether Tennessee’s top public officials prefer that method of selecting judges, or whether they are behind the Soros-supported Missouri Plan. . . .

A modified federal method is likely the only way to avoid [a campaign for a state constitutional amendment], because it is the only method that can unite the two main factions in the debate. One faction — which includes the Soros-funded Proteus Fund and the most liberal members of the Tennessee legislature — insists that judicial elections are unacceptable. The other faction — which includes conservative organizations like Eagle Forum and the Family Action Council of Tennessee — insists that the Missouri Plan is unacceptable. Many (if not all) members of both factions are open to, if not supportive of, amending the state constitution to adopt a modified federal method of selection. 

To explore such issues, The Federalist Society recently launched StateCourtsGuide.com.  For the information on Tennessee's selection of judges, click here.

Surveying the Empirical Evidence Concerning Judicial Elections

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by Justin Shubow
Posted March 15, 2012, 8:12 AM

The Federalist Society's State Courts Project announces the publication of an important white paper by Chris W. Bonneau, associate professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh.  The article's subject is "A Survey of Empirical Evidence Concerning Judicial Elections."  Professor Bonneau summarizes his paper as follows:

The election of state judges is a controversial topic. Consider, for example, this quote from a paper by Adam Skaggs et al.: “The story of the 2009-10 elections, and their aftermath in state legislatures in 2011, reveals a coalescing national campaign that seeks to intimidate America’s state judges into becoming accountable to money and ideologies instead of the constitution and the law.” Legal scholars, legal groups, and advocacy groups interested in reforming judicial selection have engaged in a coordinated effort over the past decade to try to end the popular election of judges. These efforts have been largely unsuccessful in recent years, with only two states modifying their method of selection and no states ending their method of popular election of judges. But legislation to alter the method of selection continues to be discussed in several states, and it is expected to continue to be an issue in many states.

In this paper, I evaluate the arguments made by opponents of judicial elections. Focusing primarily on state supreme court elections (since that is the level of court where most studies have been conducted), though also discussing intermediate appellate courts and trial courts where appropriate, I evaluate the arguments of judicial reform advocates in light of empirical evidence. This paper presents a synthesis of the existing literature in this area, integrating the disparate findings by scholars into a single publication.

California Asks Judges: Gay or Straight?

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by Justin Shubow
Posted February 27, 2012, 9:13 AM

The Weekly Standard reports that the state of California is inquiring about the sexuality of its judges:  

In order to make sure gays and lesbians are adequately represented on the judicial bench, the state of California is requiring all judges and justices to reveal their sexual orientation. The announcement was made in an internal memo sent to all California judges and justices.

“[The Administrative Office of the Courts] is contacting all judges and justices to gather data on race/ethnicity, gender identification, and sexual orientation,” reads an email sent by Romunda Price of the Administrative Office of the Courts. . . .

“Providing complete and accurate aggregate demographic data is crucial to garnering continuing legislative support for securing critically needed judgeships,” Price writes.

The process of self-revealing one’s sexual orientation is an element of a now yearly process. “To ensure that the AOC reports accurate data and to avoid the need to ask all judges to provide this information on an annual basis, the questionnaire asks that names be provided. The AOC, however, will release only aggregate statistical information, by jurisdiction, as required by the Government Code and will not identify any specific justice or judge.”

New White Paper on State Court Challenges to Tort Reform

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by Publius
Posted September 28, 2011, 2:08 PM

The Federalist Society just published a new white paper examining state court challenges to legislatively enacted tort reform.  Written by Andrew C. Cook and Emily Kelchen, the article begins by noting that "Over the past three decades, proponents of civil liability reform have made significant gains. Propelled by significant electoral gains in the 2010 cycle, it appears that the trend will continue this year, with 21 states so far enacting civil liability legislation."  The authors explain that their paper intends:

to provide a summary of recent state supreme court cases in which opponents of civil liability reform have challenged reform laws, mostly on constitutional grounds. Part I begins with a discussion of relatively recent cases in which civil liability reform laws were challenged and struck down. Part II discusses a recent West Virginia case upholding the state’s cap on noneconomic damages. Part III provides a summary of pending cases challenging civil liability reform laws in state courts across the country. Part IV provides an overview of recently enacted civil liability reform laws from various states.

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