The rumors of the past several weeks has gained traction with a formal response by Senate President David Williams that he would consider accepting an appointment to the circuit court bench. Nothing about him or another submitting his name to the Judicial Nominating Commision for the circuit in question or if a "deal" or "arrangement" has been struck to hasten his exit from the state senate.
This is not the first time that our Governor has used the judicial vacancy appointment process to solve his partisan political issues in state government by "rewarding" them with distinguished judicial appointments which enhance the opponent's prestige, position, and pensions.
Now to consider appointing Williams to the bench is to politicize the judiciary in a way that can only puzzle court watchers who want an independent and judicious judiciary and not a haven for politicians in their twilight moments.
Or as Shoeless Joe Jackson was queried (my parody): "Say it ain't so, Stevie!"
Of course, in baseball being sent to the bench was not a good sign for a ball player.
The nominating commission is scheduled to meet on Oct. 26 to consider the appointments. However, there is more than just considering a nomination, Mr. Williams will have to have his name submitted to be considered.
When a judicial vacancy occurs, the executive secretary of the JNC notifies all attorneys and the public in the affected judicial circuit or district. Attorneys can recommend someone or nominate themselves. Interested attorneys must complete an application and return it to the executive secretary of the JNC.
The chief justice meets with the JNC to select three nominees and then forwards those names to the governor. The names of the three nominees are listed in alphabetical order without indicating the commission’s preference. The governor must appoint a judge from this list of three. If the governor does not appoint a judge within 60 days of receiving the list of nominees, the appointment is made by the chief justice from the list of nominees.
From the AOC Web Site.
Here is a link and an extract of the story by Joseph Gerth who leaked this story earlier in his political column. Read the entire story by following the link.
Senate President David Williams said through a spokeswoman Thursday that he would consider a judicial appointment if it was offered to him.
That possibility has been a subject of speculation since Sept. 17, when Circuit Judge Eddie C. Lovelace died in a hospital in Nashville, Tenn. Lovelace served in the state’s 40th judicial circuit, which includes Williams’ hometown of Burkesville.
Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear will have the authority to appoint a replacement for Lovelace once a judicial nominating commission meets and recommends three lawyers to succeed him.
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Williams had previously declined to comment on his interest in the position and had, in fact, criticized Beshear in the past when he appointed other Senate Republicans to high-paying positions in an effort to win back control of the Senate for the Democrats.
“If there is an appointment offer, Sen. Williams will consider it,” Williams spokeswoman Lourdes Baez-Schrader said in a statement Thursday.
More from the AOC Web Site regarding the notice of vacancy, etc.
Vacancy for the 40th Judicial Circuit, Clinton, Cumberland & Monroe counties.
Applications for this vacancy will be sought once members of the Judicial Nominating Commission have been appointed by the Governor.