The State Judicial Selection Process
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The judicial process selection that is practiced in Virginia is different from the one in California. The state’s judiciary has a supreme court, the court of appeal, circuit court, and lastly, the district court. In this state, the district court happens to be of limited jurisdictions. The state’s legislature has a main responsibility when it comes to the selection of its judges. Virginia happens to be one of the two only states that practice it. Democrats have had a time equivalent to decades that they have controlled the general assembly and even the selection of judges. This was made possible where the democrats met in closed doors and came up with candidates.
Afterwards, the candidates were given a go ahead in the House of Delegates and the Senate by the given democratic majority. In the elections that were carried out in the year 1995, there was a split in the given senate, and also some changes in the senate rules that were used for selection of judges. There was a later shift in the authority that recommended judges to local legislative delegations and this, in turn, formed a senatorial courtesy. The nominees had to be recommended by the senators that happen to represent the given judicial district have the vacancy. The full senate would, therefore, follow the wish of the given senate on a condition that these were in agreement. There were situations, where the responsible senate for recommendation were not in agreement, then there would be a nomination and even debate of other candidates, and this was carried on the floor of the senate.
For the first time in the period of more than 100 years, there was a gain in both the senate and the house by the republican. This led to the republican majority forming a committee of joint advisory that had the responsibility of reviewing and even evaluating the given candidates for vacancies in the court of appeal and even the Supreme Court, and who also had a mandate in advising the general assembly specifically on the qualification of the given candidate. A lot of the republican legislators went ahead and formed local citizen commission that would look into the nominees for both circuit and even district court judgeships.
There are two ways, in which the Virginia’s judges may be removed from the office. The judges may happen to be impeached by the given House of Delegates; a two-thirds vote carried out in the senate was enough to remove the judge. When there is any form of complaints of judicial misconduct, a given physical disability or serious mental that in any way may interfere with the duties of the given judge. Evidence are then gathered, and hearings conducted in order to substantiate the charges. In the case, where the charges are found to be significant, filling is made with the supreme court of the formal complaints. The complaint before the Supreme Court may in this case be dismissed, censured, retired or even remove the judge from the office.
A candidate must have obtained a bachelor’s degree from an education facility that is accredited, must have a clean record given that fingerprints will be taken for checks that include state background and even national. The candidate must also prove his/her citizenship and even place of residency.
In California, the judiciary consists of different types of courts. These include the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Superior Court. The state has a Constitution that happens to dictate the process of nomination of the judges. In this state, the governor has a responsibility to nominate the judges of the Supreme Court. After their nomination, the judges await their confirmation, and in the state, this is done by the commission on the judicial appointments. The commission consists of the attorney general, the chief justice, and lastly the presiding justice of the court of appeal. It started being of great significance from the year 1979, where the legislators had a requirement to conduct enough investigation both on the qualification and on the background of the prospective nominees. When the next elections are carried out, the appellate judges also stand for their retention, given that they have to be in the office for a period of twelve years.
When it comes to the superior court judges, they have to serve in the office for a period of six years and be chosen in non-partisan elections. The governor also has a responsibility to fill the given vacancies with the court by appointment. The nominees, in this case, have to undergo a thorough investigation, and this is done by the commission that stands in the judicial nominees’ evaluation. The superior court judges that have been nominated by the governor are able to face the bench, and elimination process is carried out in order to remove some of them. In this case, the given incumbents face a rare challenge in terms of their reelection.
There has been an exemption of rule in California that has been over the years, when it comes to the retention elections that belong to appellate justice. This was evident in the year 1986, when the then justices, three in number, including the chief justice, were targeted whether they had earlier given a ruling that went against the death penalty. There was a record of spending in judicial process, where an amount equivalent to $11.5 million was used and in this case both for and against the justices. In the recent elections, there has been a target on justices basing on the rulings that they gave regarding the cases of abortion, and these cases have been successful.
Article VI of the Constitution of California states the selection procedures and the given methods of retention and even there term lengths. There was a voting carried out in the year 1998, that allowed the judges in each given country to bring together their given superior and even municipal courts to a single superior court. All the 58 countries happen to vote with an intention of bringing together their respective courts in the year 2001. During their appointments by the commission, it has to hold one or even more public hearings and, in this case, to review the qualification of the appointees and issue either confirmation or veto, which is decided upon the base of the majority vote.
There have been instances, where no candidate got a majority of the vote conducted in the primary election. In this case, a general election is conducted, where there is a runoff conducted between the two candidates. In cases, where the candidate happens to be unopposed, he/she is reelected automatically, and the given judge’s name does not appear in the ballot. There has never been a country that happened to adopt appointive process.
In terms of qualifications, the state of California is very fair in giving out equal opportunities to the candidates. The candidate must have completed at least 2 years of the undergraduate studies, must have applied for a license to enable the given candidate a chance to practice law in the state after completing the given requirements in education, and must have gained experience, when it comes to practicing law in California. The candidate must also have applied for a given position as a judge with the governor’s office.
In some instances, judges can be removed from the office. The are the three methods that are practiced in order to remove them from the office. Judges are subject to make a recall on election; they may be impeached by the assembly and the two thirds of the senate convict them, and lastly, in case when any complaints that are raised investigated by the commission that influence the judicial performance. The investigation deals with misconduct and even incapacity, and the result can be a censure, removal of the judge, retirement, admonishing, and even suspension. However, the decisions by the commission are subject to a review that is to be carried out by the Supreme Court.
In Virginia, the things are organized the other way, given that the candidate must have cleared undergraduate course, as compared to California that allows application to the candidates, who have completed at least a two-year course. The state of California proves to be very welcoming to the different candidates given that their requirements are lower and accommodating to a variety of candidates.
The process seems to be very fair and quick, given that transparency is exercised. The candidates undergo a thorough investigation and pass through the different forms of scrutiny. The constitution has provided some alternatives in case the election is not clear and has to be furtherer pushed into the senate. The senators from the district also have a say. If this does not happen in a case where the senate is not in agreement, there will be a fresh nomination. This will call for a debate to be conducted on the floor of the senate. There is also presence of a joint judicial advisory committee. The committee has a responsibility to review and even evaluate the given candidates for the vacancy in the Supreme Court and the court of appeal. The commission also is of a great benefit, given that it advises the general assembly on the candidates’ qualifications, making the process just.