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State of District of Columbia

Methods of Judicial Selection: District of Columbia

Retention Evaluation Programs

In addition to having the authority to remove D.C. judges from office, the judicial disabilities and tenure commission evaluates judges seeking reappointment. At least six months prior to the expiration of a judge's term, the judge must file a notice of intent with the commission if the judge is seeking reappointment. The commission must then submit to the president at least sixty days prior to the expiration of the judge's term a written evaluation of the judge's performance in office and fitness for reappointment. The commission accepts comments from the public, the bar, court personnel, and other judges in developing its evaluation. Judges who are rated "well qualified" by the commission are automatically reappointed. Judges found to be "qualified" may be appointed by the president for an additional term, subject to senate confirmation. If the president chooses not to reappoint a judge, or if the commission finds a judge "unqualified," the president appoints a judge from a list compiled by the judicial nomination commission. Like the judicial nomination commission, the judicial disabilities and tenure commission consists of seven members who serve six year terms. The President appoints one member to the commission, the Board of Governors of the D.C. Bar appoints two lawyer members, the Mayor of D.C. appoints one lawyer and one nonlawyer member, the D.C. Council appoints one nonlawyer member, and the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia appoints an active or retired D.C. federal judge. Commission members may not be nominated to D.C. judgeships within two years of leaving the Commission.