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JCRC Rating Criteria

When Organizations interview and rate the candidates, we focus on the characteristics that make for a good judge: integrity, judicial temperament, diligence, professional competence and community involvement and understanding. Here’s more detail about what we consider:

Integrity: When the Organizations evaluate integrity, we consider the Candidate's character, ethics and general reputation in the community. A Candidate with integrity demonstrates:

  • impartiality and independence,
  • honesty and trustworthiness,
  • compliance with the law,
  • a commitment to equal justice under the law.

A Candidate with integrity avoids:

  • impropriety or the appearance of impropriety,
  • ex parte communications about the merits of pending cases.

Additionally, if the Candidate has judicial experience, the Organizations consider whether the Candidate:

  • promotes confidence in the courts and judiciary,
  • does not abuse the power of the bench,
  • makes decisions based on rules of law and principles of equity, rather than on public or personal opinion,
  • recuses ones self when appropriate, and only when appropriate,
  • makes appointments (e.g., assignment of counsel) solely on the basis of merit.

Judicial Temperament: In evaluating judicial temperament, the Organizations consider whether a Candidate conducts him/herself in a manner that is:

  • dignified and even-tempered,
  • respectful to others,
  • courteous,
  • tactful,
  • patient, yet firm,
  • objective and even-handed,
  • open-minded,
  • compassionate.

Additionally, if the Candidate has judicial experience, the Organizations consider whether the Candidate:

  • cooperates with other judges and court officials in the operation of the court,
  • shows willingness to listen to novel and unpopular positions,
  • does not coerce settlement.

Diligence: In evaluating diligence, the Organizations consider a candidate's work ethic and industry. A diligent Candidate is one who is:

  • hard working and efficient,
  • reliable and punctual,
  • well prepared for pretrials and hearings.

Additionally, if the Candidate has judicial experience, the Organizations consider whether the Candidate:

  • issues timely decisions,
  • uses court time and resources efficiently,
  • complies with the Rules of Superintendence.

Professional Competence: In evaluating professional competence, the Organizations consider the Candidate's intellect, knowledge and experience. Professional competence is measured by:

  • legal knowledge and analytical ability,
  • sound personal and professional judgment,
  • familiarity with the court for which the Candidate seeks office and the
    law applicable to matters coming before the court,
  • trial and courtroom experience and/or distinguished accomplishments in a relevant field of law,
  • ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, administrative and organizational skills,
  • absence of bias or prejudice based on race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socio- economic status or political affiliation, and refusal to participate in or permit harassment based on same.

Additionally, if a Candidate has prior judicial experience, the Organizations consider whether the Candidate:

  • follows applicable procedural and evidentiary rules,
  • correctly applies the law to the facts of each case,
  • educates him/herself regarding legal issues with which the Candidate is unfamiliar when such issues arise in cases,
  • provides reasonable accommodation for pro se litigants.

Community Involvement and Understanding: The Organizations also consider the Candidate's professional activities and experience beyond the Candidate's own legal practice or fulfillment of judicial duties, including:

  • active membership in bar associations and professional organizations,
  • teaching or lecturing at a law school or continuing legal education courses,
  • pro bono representation or activity,
  • community or public service,
  • diversity of life experiences,
  • understanding of the community the Candidate wishes to serve.