TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2013
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO article vi of THE hawaii constitution, TO PROVIDE FOR ELECTED SUPREME COURT JUSTICES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. Article VI, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii is amended by adding a new section to read as follows:
"ELECTION AND TERMS OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICES
Section 3. The justices of the supreme court shall be elected by the qualified electors of the state at large at the general state election at the times and places at which state officers are elected, unless some other time be provided by the legislature. The first election of justices of the supreme court shall be at the next election upon the adoption of this amendment to the state constitution. The election of supreme court justices shall be conducted in a wholly nonpartisan manner.
The justices elected thereat shall be classified by lot, so that two shall hold their office for the term of three years, two for the term of five years, and one for the term of seven years. The lot shall be drawn by the justices who shall assemble and cause the result of the lot to be certified to the chief election officer, and filed in his office.
The supreme court shall select a chief justice from its own membership to serve for a four-year term at the pleasure of a majority of the court as prescribed by supreme court rule. The chief justice shall preside at all sessions of the supreme court."
After the first election, the terms of justices elected shall be six years from and after the first Monday in December next succeeding their election. No justice shall be elected to the supreme court more than twice. If a vacancy occurs in the office of the supreme court, the temporary judge assigned by the chief justice shall hold the office for the remainder of the unexpired term. A judge who temporarily serves on the supreme court for a remaining unexpired term may not be elected to the supreme court more than once.
JUSTICES AND] JUDGES
The governor, with the consent of the senate, shall fill a vacancy in the [ office
of the chief justice, supreme court,] intermediate appellate court and
circuit courts, by appointing a person from a list of not less than four, and
not more than six, nominees for the vacancy, presented to the governor by the
judicial selection commission.
If the governor fails to make any appointment within thirty days of presentation, or within ten days of the senate's rejection of any previous appointment, the appointment shall be made by the judicial selection commission from the list with the consent of the senate. If the senate fails to reject any appointment within thirty days thereof, it shall be deemed to have given its consent to such appointment. If the senate shall reject any appointment, the governor shall make another appointment from the list within ten days thereof. The same appointment and consent procedure shall be followed until a valid appointment has been made, or failing this, the commission shall make the appointment from the list, without senate consent.
The chief justice, with the consent of the senate, shall fill a vacancy in the district courts by appointing a person from a list of not less than six nominees for the vacancy presented by the judicial commission. If the chief justice fails to make the appointment within thirty days of presentation, or within ten days of the senate's rejection of any previous appointment, the appointment shall be made by the judicial selection commission from the list with the consent of the senate. The senate must hold a public hearing and vote on each appointment within thirty days of any appointment. If the senate fails to do so, the nomination shall be returned to the commission and the commission shall make the appointment from the list without senate consent. The chief justice shall appoint per diem district court judges as provided by law.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR APPOINTMENT OR ELECTION
Justices and judges shall be residents and citizens of the State and of the United States, and licensed to practice law by the supreme court. A justice of the supreme court, a judge of the intermediate appellate court and a judge of the circuit court shall have been so licensed for a period of not less than ten years preceding nomination. A judge of the district court shall have been so licensed for a period of not less than five years preceding nomination.
No justice or judge shall, during the term of
office, engage in the practice of law, or run for or hold any [
office or position of profit under the United States, the State or its
political subdivisions, except for election or reelection for justice of the
supreme court of Hawaii.
TENURE; COMPENSATION; RETIREMENT
The term of office of [
judges of the [ supreme court,] intermediate appellate court and circuit
courts shall be ten years. Judges of district courts shall hold office for the
periods as provided by law. At least six months prior to the expiration of a [ justice's
or] judge's term of office, every [ justice and] judge shall petition
the judicial selection commission to be retained in office or shall inform the
commission of an intention to retire. If the judicial selection commission
determines that the [ justice or] judge should be retained in office, the
commission shall renew the term of office of such [ justice or] judge for
the period provided by this section or by law.
There shall be a salary commission to review and recommend salaries for justices and judges of all state courts. Justices and judges shall have salaries as provided by law. Their compensation shall not be decreased during their respective terms of office, unless by general law applying to all salaried officers of the State. They shall be retired upon attaining the age of seventy years. They shall be included in any retirement law of the State."
SECTION 3. Article VI, section 4, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii is amended to read as follows:
"JUDICIAL SELECTION COMMISSION
There shall be a judicial selection commission that shall consist of nine
members. The governor shall appoint two members to the commission. No more
than one of the two members shall be a licensed attorney. The president of the
senate and the speaker of the house of representatives shall each respectively
appoint two members to the commission. The chief justice of the supreme court
shall appoint one member to the commission. Members in good standing of the
bar of the State shall elect two of their number to the commission in an
election conducted by the supreme court or its delegate. No more than four
members of the commission shall be licensed attorneys. At all times, at least
one member of the commission shall be a resident of a county other than the
City and County of Honolulu.
The commission shall be selected and shall operate in a wholly nonpartisan manner. After the initial formation of the commission, elections and appointments to the commission shall be for staggered terms of six years each. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no member of the commission shall serve for more than six years on the commission.
Each member of the judicial selection commission shall be a resident of the State and a citizen of the United States. No member shall run for or hold any other elected office under the United States, the State or its political subdivisions. No member shall take an active part in political management or in political campaigns. No member shall be eligible for appointment to the judicial office of the State so long as the person is a member of the judicial commission and for a period of three years thereafter.
No act of the judicial selection commission shall be valid except by concurrence of the majority of its voting members.
The judicial selection commission shall select one of its members to serve as chairperson. The commission shall adopt rules which shall have the force and effect of law. The deliberations of the commission shall be confidential.
The legislature shall provide for the staff and operating expenses of the judicial selection commission in a separate budget. No member of the judicial selection commission shall receive any compensation for commission services, but shall be allowed necessary expenses for travel, board and lodging incurred in the performance of commission duties.
The judicial selection commission shall be attached to the judiciary branch of the state government for purposes of administration."
SECTION 4. Article VI, section 5, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii is amended to read as follows:
"RETIREMENT; REMOVAL; DISCIPLINE
supreme court shall have the power to reprimand, discipline, suspend with or
without salary, retire or remove from office any justice or judge for
misconduct or disability, as provided by rules adopted by the supreme court.
The supreme court shall create a commission on judicial discipline which shall have authority to investigate and conduct hearings concerning allegations of misconduct or disability and to make recommendations to the supreme court concerning reprimand, discipline, suspension, retirement or removal of any justice or judge."
SECTION 5. Article VI, section 6, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii is amended to read as follows:
6]7. The chief
justice of the supreme court shall be the administrative head of the courts.
The chief justice may assign judges from one circuit court to another for
temporary service. With the approval of the supreme court, the chief justice
shall appoint an administrative director to serve at the chief justice's
SECTION 6. Article VI, section 7, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii is amended to read as follows:
supreme court shall have power to promulgate rules and regulations in all civil
and criminal cases for all courts relating to process, practice, procedure and
appeals, which shall have the force and effect of law."
SECTION 7. The question to be printed on the ballot shall be as follows:
"Shall the state constitution be amended to provide for nonpartisan election of supreme court justices; for the supreme court justices to serve staggered six year terms, not more than twice; and for the supreme court chief justice to be chosen by a majority of the supreme court justices?"
SECTION 8. Constitutional material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New constitutional material is underscored.
SECTION 9. This amendment shall take effect upon compliance with article XVII, section 3, of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii.
Elected Supreme Court Justices
Proposes an amendment to the state constitution to provide for elected supreme court justices. Creates provision for selection of chief justice; staggered limited terms; nonpartisan election; and filling vacancies on the court.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.