The JNC application process is described here.
Answers to some additional frequently asked questions about the process are below.
Must I be a District of Columbia resident to apply for a judicial vacancy?
Yes. An applicant must be a “bona fide resident of the District of Columbia” at the time of nomination and must retain DC residency throughout judicial service.
May I apply for more than one vacancy?
As a general rule, yes. You may apply for any open vacancy, and, if you follow the instructions in the Notice of Vacancy, you may apply for more than one open vacancy at a time. If your application is not successful, you may apply for the next vacancy that arises. If you are part of a panel of three recommended to fill one vacancy, however, other factors may affect your ability to be considered for a new vacancy while the panel is still active. Contact the Commission should you be in that situation.
Do I need to submit a photograph with each application?
No. The Commission no longer requires applicants to submit photographs with their application.
The application asks for a biographical summary of up to 250 words, suitable for publication. What is the JNC looking for?
JNC posts the biographical summary when the vacancy applicants are announced, to facilitate the public comment process. JNC also uses the summaries in a press release announcing the panel of recommended applicants. You should pattern your summary after those found in press releases on the JNC website. It should highlight your career, note any special achievements, and specific academic degrees (e.g., Master of Arts in philosophy from American University). If you served as a judicial law clerk, the summary should include the name of the judicial officer and court. Please note that the Commission may edit the summary prior to publication.
Do I need letters of recommendation or endorsement?
JNC does not require, but will accept, letters of recommendation, support, or endorsement. Such letters should be from people who can attest to your qualification for judicial office – they should not be mere character references. Letters must be signed and, if the author is writing on behalf of an organization, must be on letterhead. Letters are to be submitted directly to the JNC within the deadline posted, typically 30 days after the due date for the application. Information may also be submitted through the JNC’s online evaluation form. See below.
I applied last year, and received a number of letters of support. Do I need to ask for new letters?
The JNC maintains letters for two (2) years and will consider these letters for each vacancy to which you apply within that two-year period.
Does the Commission interview applicants?
Yes, at the discretion of the Commission. You may contact individual Commission members to arrange for individual interviews, and can expect to be contacted by the Commission if you are to be scheduled for an interview at the full Commission meeting.
Does the Commission solicit public comments on applicants?
Yes. The Commission uses an online evaluation form to secure public comments on applicants. This evaluation form is only available when the Commission is accepting comments on applicants. Members of the public may also submit letters concerning applicants.
Does the Commission conduct background investigations?
Yes. Applicants undergo criminal records checks, FBI name checks, credit checks, federal and local tax history, and employment and education verification. In addition, applicants’ bar membership and disciplinary history is investigated. The Commission may request additional information from applicants as necessary.
What happens if an applicant recommended to the President withdraws, dies, or otherwise becomes disqualified to serve as a judge on the DC courts?
In such an event, the JNC will promptly recommend to the President one person to replace the person originally recommended pursuant to DC Code Section 1-204.34(d)(2).
How long does the nomination process take?
JNC operates under statutory deadlines to send three candidates to the President. It typically takes about 15 weeks from the time a Notice of Judicial Vacancy issue until a recommendation is made to the President. The President then has 60 days to nominate a candidate to the Senate for confirmation. The Senate does not have a timeline within which it must act on the nomination.