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Arizona Judicial Branch

Constitutional Provisions

INDEX:

Article 6, Section 36:  Commission on appellate court appointments and terms, appointments and vacancies on commission

Article 6, Section 37:  Judicial vacancies and appointments; initial terms; residence; age

Article 6, Section 41:  Superior court divisions; commission on trial court appointments; membership; terms

Article 6, Section 42:  Retention evaluation of justices and judges


 

Article 6, Section 36:  Commission on appellate court appointments and terms, appointments and vacancies on commission

A. There shall be a nonpartisan commission on appellate court appointments which shall be composed of the chief justice of the supreme court, who shall be chairman, five attorney members, who shall be nominated by the board of governors of the state bar of Arizona and appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate in the manner prescribed by law, and ten nonattorney members who shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate in the manner prescribed by law. At least ninety days prior to a term expiring or within twenty one days of a vacancy occurring for a nonattorney member on the commission for appellate court appointments, the governor shall appoint a nominating committee of nine members, not more than five of whom may be from the same political party. The makeup of the committee shall, to the extent feasible, reflect the diversity of the population of the state. Members shall not be attorneys and shall not hold any governmental office, elective or appointive, for profit. The committee shall provide public notice that a vacancy exists and shall solicit, review and forward to the governor all applications along with the committee's recommendations for appointment.

Attorney members of the commission shall have resided in the state and shall have been admitted to practice before the supreme court for not less than five years. Not more than three attorney members shall be members of the same political party and not more than two attorney members shall be residents of any one county. Nonattorney members shall have resided in the state for not less than five years and shall not be judges, retired judges or admitted to practice before the supreme court. Not more than five nonattorney members shall be members of the same political party. Not more than two nonattorney members shall be residents of any one county. None of the attorney or nonattorney members of the commission shall hold any governmental office, elective or appointive, for profit, and no attorney member shall be eligible for appointment to any judicial office of the state until one year after he ceases to be a member. Attorney members of the commission shall serve staggered four year terms and nonattorney members shall serve staggered four year terms. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired terms in the same manner as the original appointments.

B. No person other than the chief justice shall serve at the same time as a member of more than one judicial appointment commission.

C. In making or confirming appointments to the appellate court commission, the governor, the senate and the state bar shall endeavor to see that the commission reflects the diversity of Arizona's population.

In the event of the absence or incapacity of the chairman the supreme court shall appoint a justice thereof to serve in his place and stead.

D. Prior to making recommendations to the governor as hereinafter provided, the commission shall conduct investigations, hold public hearings and take public testimony. An executive session as prescribed by rule may be held upon a two thirds vote of the members of the commission in a public hearing. Final decisions as to recommendations shall be made without regard to political affiliation in an impartial and objective manner. The commission shall consider the diversity of the state's population, however the primary consideration shall be merit. Voting shall be in a public hearing. The expenses of meetings of the commission and the attendance of members thereof for travel and subsistence shall be paid from the general fund of the state as state officers are paid, upon claims approved by the chairman.

E. After public hearings the supreme court shall adopt rules of procedure for the commission on appellate court appointments.

F. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, the initial appointments for the five additional nonattorney members and the two additional attorney members of the commission shall be designated by the governor for staggered terms as follows:

1. One appointment for a nonattorney member shall be for a one year term.

2. Two appointments for nonattorney members shall be for a two year term.

3. Two appointments for nonattorney members shall be for a three year term.

4. One appointment for an attorney member shall be for a one year term.

5. One appointments for an attorney member shall be for a two year term.

G. The members currently serving on the commission may continue to serve until the expiration of their normal terms. All subsequent appointments shall be made as prescribed by this section.


Article 6, Section 37:  Judicial vacancies and appointments; initial terms; residence; age

A. Within sixty days from the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of a justice or judge of any court of record, except for vacancies occurring in the office of a judge of the superior court or a judge of a court of record inferior to the superior court, the commission on appellate court appointments, if the vacancy is in the supreme court or an intermediate appellate court of record, shall submit to the governor the names of not less than three persons nominated by it to fill such vacancy, no more than two of whom shall be members of the same political party unless there are more than four such nominees, in which event not more than sixty percentum of such nominees shall be members of the same political party.

B. Within sixty days from the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of a judge of the superior court or a judge of a court of record inferior to the superior court except for vacancies occurring in the office of a judge of the superior court or a judge of a court of record inferior to the superior court in a county having a population of less than two hundred fifty thousand persons according to the most recent United States census, the commission on trial court appointments for the county in which the vacancy occurs shall submit to the governor the names of not less than three persons nominated by it to fill such vacancy, no more than two of whom shall be members of the same political party unless there are more than four such nominees, in which event no more than sixty per centum of such nominees shall be members of the same political party. A nominee shall be under sixty five years of age at the time his name is submitted to the governor. Judges of the superior court shall be subject to retention or rejection by a vote of the qualified electors of the county from which they were appointed at the general election in the manner provided by section 38 of this article.

C. A vacancy in the office of a justice or a judge of such courts of record shall be filled by appointment by the governor without regard to political affiliation from one of the nominees whose names shall be submitted to him as hereinabove provided. In making the appointment, the governor shall consider the diversity of the state's population for an appellate court appointment and the diversity of the county's population for a trial court appointment, however the primary consideration shall be merit. If the governor does not appoint one of such nominees to fill such vacancy within sixty days after their names are submitted to the governor by such commission, the chief justice of the supreme court forthwith shall appoint on the basis of merit alone without regard to political affiliation one of such nominees to fill such vacancy. If such commission does not, within sixty days after such vacancy occurs, submit the names of nominees as hereinabove provided, the governor shall have the power to appoint any qualified person to fill such vacancy at any time thereafter prior to the time the names of the nominees to fill such vacancy are submitted to the governor as hereinabove provided. Each justice or judge so appointed shall initially hold office for a term ending sixty days following the next regular general election after the expiration of a term of two years in office. Thereafter, the terms of justices or judges of the supreme court and the superior court shall be as provided by this article.

D. A person appointed to fill a vacancy on an intermediate appellate court or another court of record now existing or hereafter established by law shall have been a resident of the counties or county in which that vacancy exists for at least one year prior to his appointment, in addition to possessing the other required qualifications. A nominee shall be under sixty five years of age at the time his name is submitted to the governor.


Article 6, Section 41:  Superior court divisions; commission on trial court appointments; membership; terms

A. Except as otherwise provided, judges of the superior court in counties having a population of two hundred fifty thousand persons or more according to the most recent United States census shall hold office for a regular term of four years.

B. There shall be a nonpartisan commission on trial court appointments for each county having a population of two hundred fifty thousand persons or more according to the most recent United States census which shall be composed of the following members:

1. The chief justice of the supreme court, who shall be the chairman of the commission. In the event of the absence or incapacity of the chairman the supreme court shall appoint a justice thereof to serve in his place and stead.

2. Five attorney members, none of whom shall reside in the same supervisorial district and not more than three of whom shall be members of the same political party, who are nominated by the board of governors of the state bar of Arizona and who are appointed by the governor subject to confirmation by the senate in the manner prescribed by law.

3. Ten nonattorney members, no more than two of whom shall reside in the same supervisorial district.

C. At least ninety days prior to a term expiring or within twenty one days of a vacancy occurring for a nonattorney member on the commission for trial court appointments, the member of the board of supervisors from the district in which the vacancy has occurred shall appoint a nominating committee of seven members who reside in the district, not more than four of whom may be from the same political party. The make up of the committee shall, to the extent feasible, reflect the diversity of the population of the district. Members shall not be attorneys and shall not hold any governmental office, elective or appointive, for profit. The committee shall provide public notice that a vacancy exists and shall solicit, review and forward to the governor all applications along with the committee's recommendations for appointment. The governor shall appoint two persons from each supervisorial district who shall not be of the same political party, subject to confirmation by the senate in the manner prescribed by law.

D. In making or confirming appointments to trial court commissions, the governor, the senate and the state bar shall endeavor to see that the commission reflects the diversity of the county's population.

E. Members of the commission shall serve staggered four year terms, except that initial appointments for the five additional nonattorney members and the two additional attorney members of the commission shall be designated by the governor as follows:

1. One appointment for a nonattorney member shall be for a one year term.
2. Two appointments for nonattorney members shall be for a two year term.
3. Two appointments for nonattorney members shall be for a three year term.
4. One appointment for an attorney member shall be for a one year term.
5. One appointment for an attorney member shall be for a two year term.

F. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired terms in the same manner as the original appointments.

G. Attorney members of the commission shall have resided in this state and shall have been admitted to practice in this state by the supreme court for at least five years and shall have resided in the supervisorial district from which they are appointed for at least one year. Nonattorney members shall have resided in this state for at least five years, shall have resided in the supervisorial district for at least one year before being nominated and shall not be judges, retired judges nor admitted to practice before the supreme court. None of the attorney or nonattorney members of the commission shall hold any governmental office, elective or appointive, for profit and no attorney member is eligible for appointment to any judicial office of this state until one year after membership in the commission terminates.

H. No person other than the chief justice shall serve at the same time as a member of more than one judicial appointment commission.

I. The commission shall submit the names of not less than three individuals for nomination for the office of the superior court judge pursuant to section 37 of this article.

J. Prior to making recommendations to the governor, the commission shall conduct investigations, hold public hearings and take public testimony. An executive session as prescribed by rule may be held upon a two thirds vote of the members of the commission in a public hearing. Final decisions as to recommendations shall be made without regard to political affiliation in an impartial and objective manner. The commission shall consider the diversity of the county's population and the geographical distribution of the residences of the judges throughout the county, however the primary consideration shall be merit. Voting shall be in a public hearing. The expenses of meetings of the commission and the attendance of members thereof for travel and subsistence shall be paid from the general fund of the state as state officers are paid, upon claims approved by the chairman.

K. After public hearings the supreme court shall adopt rules of procedure for
the commission on trial court appointments.

L. The members of the commission who were appointed pursuant to section 36 of this article prior to the effective date of this section may continue to serve until the expiration of their normal terms. All subsequent appointments shall be made as prescribed by this
section.


Article 6, Section 42:  Retention evaluation of justices and judges

The supreme court shall adopt, after public hearings, and administer for all justices and judges who file a declaration to be retained in office, a process, established by court rules for evaluating judicial performance. The rules shall include written performance standards and performance reviews which survey opinions of persons who have knowledge of the justice's or judge's performance. The public shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity for participation in the evaluation process through public hearings, dissemination of evaluation reports to voters and any other methods as the court deems advisable.