JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS – RESOURCES FOR LOCAL AND COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATIONS
The Task Force on the Evaluation of Candidates for Election to Judicial Office was appointed in 2018 to review the existing methods of vetting judicial candidates and propose best practices, guidelines and minimum standards for review of candidates. The report and recommendations of the Task Force were adopted at the April 13, 2019 meeting of the NYSBA House of Delegates in Albany.
The Task Force, chaired by Robert L. Haig and Hon. Susan Phillips Read, found that systems utilized by bar associations vary from county to county, and it concluded that a one-size-fits-all approach for screening would not work for New York State. Where existing reviews are effective, the Task Force urged their continuation; in particular, the Task Force noted that existing systems in place in New York City, on Long Island, and several upstate urban counties – which comprise over three-quarters of the state’s population – are currently well served. For those counties not currently served by existing screening entities, the Task Force recommended the establishment of regional or district screening committees.
The Task Force developed a set of best practices to guide local bar and regional screening committees, addressing composition of the committees; use of questionnaires and the conduct of investigations; evaluation criteria; and rating and appeals processes. Several useful resources are linked below.
Thomas Richards, Esq.
Director of Public Interest and Deputy General Counsel