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Judicial Nomination Commission Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Friday, August 30, 2019

The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission (the “Commission”) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Notice”) in Volume 66, No. 36 of the District of Columbia Register to notify the public of its intent to take proposed rulemaking action by promulgating Chapter 21 (Judicial Nomination Commission) of Title 28 (Corrections, Courts, and Criminal Justice) of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations in no less than thirty (30) days from August 30, 2019, the date of publication of the Notice in the District of Columbia Register. The Notice is available at: https://dcregs.dc.gov/default.aspx.  

The purposes of the rulemaking include to clarify ambiguities in the procedures relating to the status of applicants on judicial nomination lists. When there is a vacancy on a District of Columbia court, the Commission, following an application and background check process, selects three candidates and recommends those candidates on a list sent to the President, who nominates one of the Commission’s recommended candidates. If the President does not nominate a candidate within sixty (60) days of receiving the list, then the Commission nominates a candidate from the list. Candidates must be confirmed by the Senate before being appointed to a judicial office.

The procedures in the District of Columbia Home Rule Act are ambiguous as to what happens when the Senate fails to confirm a nominee or returns a nomination. Accordingly, the Commission is promulgating these rules to clarify the procedure to be followed when the Senate fails to confirm or returns a nomination. The rulemaking specifies that when the Senate rejects, returns, or fails to take action on a nomination by the end of a Senate session, the nomination will be deemed rejected, and the President will have sixty (60) days to make another nomination. If the President does not make another nomination within sixty (60) days, the list of candidates for the vacancy is deemed expired, and the Commission submits another list to the President, starting the application process anew. The rulemaking also clarifies certain application procedures for judicial candidates and codifies what constitutes a quorum for the adoption of an action by the Commission.  

All persons desiring to comment on the subject of the Commission’s proposed rulemaking should file comments in writing not later than thirty (30) days after the date of the publication of the Notice in the District of Columbia Register. Comments should be clearly marked “Public Comments: Judicial Nomination Commission Regulations” and sent to the Judicial Nomination Commission, 515 5th Street NW, Suite 235, Washington, DC 20001, or by email to Bianca Garcia, at [email protected]. Comments must be received by 5 pm on September 30, 2019. Copies of the proposed rules may be obtained during the hours of 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, by contacting Bianca Garcia, at (202) 879-0478 or [email protected].  

Any technical problems or questions should be directed to the Commission at (202) 879-0478 or [email protected]