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State of Massachusetts

History of Reform Efforts: Massachusetts

Altering Selection Methods

The Massachusetts constitution calls for all judges to be appointed for life by the governor with executive council approval. Merit selection is established by executive order; executive orders are the purview of each governor. Doing away with life tenure for judges or moving to an elective system would require a constitutional amendment. Constitutional amendments may be proposed with the approval of a majority of both houses of the general court at consecutive sessions, or by initiative petition signed by voters equal in number to at least 3% of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. Proposed amendments must be ratified by a majority of voters.