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State of Massachusetts

Methods of Judicial Selection: Massachusetts

Judicial Nominating Commissions

In 1975, Governor Dukakis adopted an executive order establishing a judicial nominating commission to screen candidates for judicial vacancies. Since that time, each of Massachusetts' governors has utilized a nominating commission to appoint judges.

Under Executive Order 500, the judicial nominating commission advises the governor regarding appointments to the appeals court and trial court departments. The commission screens applicants for the supreme judicial court at the governor's discretion. The commission's twenty-one members are appointed by the governor and serve one-year terms at the governor's pleasure. The commission screens applicants and submits a list of three to six candidates to governor. The governor may decline to nominate one of these candidates, request further recommendations from the commission, or request that the application process be reopened.

For more information, see Judicial Merit Selection: Current Status.