Gavel to Gavel is a newsletter of National Center for State Courts (NCSC).
Our nation’s state courts are more and more the focus of legislative attention. Whether it is changes to the court structure or alterations to the terms of the judges who serve, there is a growing need for a reliable, national overview. The National Center for State Courts’ Gavel to Gavelwill help identify trends in legislative activity as it relates to the courts in seven broad areas:1. Judicial selection (e.g. merit selection, partisan elections) 2. Judicial qualifications and terms (e.g. mandatory retirement age) 3. Judicial rule making authority 4. Structural court changes (e.g. merger of courts, division of existing courts) 5. Jurisdiction (e.g. court stripping or court expanding) 6. Salary and budget 7. Other areas that affect the courts
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Kansas House committee removes provision requiring state courts order funding as required by the U.S. Constitution
Yesterday I noted with respect to a Minnesota bill that it was common for legislators to propose constitutional amendments to prohibit state courts from ordering funds to be expended. Late last week Kansas’ House Judiciary Committee advanced just such a bill, but with an interesting change....
New Hampshire House effort to create 7-year terms for judges taken off the table, may have vote this afternoon Update: Effort fails 172-176 on procedural vote
Judges in New Hampshire’s state courts, after their appointment by the governor and confirmation by the state’s executive council, serve until age 70, must to the angst of several members of the legislature. CACR 11, introduced initially in 2011, would replace this with 5-year terms...
Bills that would prohibit courts from ordering or directing the expenditure of state funds are nothing new. When courts have ordered increased funding, for schools for example, there has been anecdotal evidence that court budgets have been reduced in retaliation. Minnesota’s SB 2454, however,...
Tennessee House Judiciary Committee approves 9-6 plan to put merit selection explicitly in state’s constitution
There has been copious amounts written on this blog and in the Gavel to Gavel publication on Tennessee’s merit selection system (here’s an overview). The latest effort, HJR 753, would specifically place a merit-selection system in the state’s constitution for appellate judges in...
The recent spate of courthouse shootings and attacks has brought the focus back to court security and specifically how to pay for it. Several states provide for court security fees to be added to civil and/or criminal cases. Minnesota is considering such a plan, one that would allow counties that...
Bans on court use of sharia/international law: Bills withdrawn in Minnesota and New Jersey, Kansas House attaches ban to unrelated bill
The last several weeks in the examination bans on court use of sharia/international law have seen something new: while such bans have been voted down in committee before for t he first time authors are starting to withdraw the bills outright. Minnesota’s SB 2281 was withdrawn the day it was...
From a separation of powers standpoint, many state constitutions provide that an individual serving in one branch of government cannot simultaneously serve in another. In some states this is taken to the even further extreme of resign-to-run provisions, requiring an individual quit their current...
Week ahead: Tennessee votes on merit selection & drug testing judges; NH votes on IOLTA, judicial performance evaluations & rulemaking; NY Senate looks at mandatory judicial retirement
Legislatures Coming Into Session NONE Legislatures Going Out of Session South Dakota 3/19 Floor/Committee Activity of Note March 19 Missouri Senate Floor SB 676 Mandates that any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling shall be unenforceable if based on a foreign law that does...
Issue 6:11 is here. Focus Trend: Court Interpreters/Court Interpretation Changes to small claims limits advance in Arizona & introduced in Louisiana Hawaii’s Senate approves increase to mandatory judicial retirement age while Wyoming’s Senate rejects elimination Florida’s...
It is not often (if ever) that state courts sit in judgment of federal actions. The last several years, however, have seen several such efforts, including bills to create a civil right of action against federal employees and law enforcement for failure to follow various and sundry state laws as...