The State Bar Judicial Nomination Evaluation Commission Or JNE Commission
This is an entity that is sanctioned by the State Bar of California. What they’re tasked to do is to evaluate individuals who are potential judges, either regular Superior Court Judges or Appellate Judges. They do this for the Governor of the State of California and they rate each of the potential candidates and then the candidate can either be selected or not by the Governor. This is something that is mandatory and must be done. This is one way for a person to become a judge. Another way would obviously would be to be elected by the public. But to be appointed by the Governor, the person has to go through the JNE Commission.
I have this information because first off, it’s general public information. I’m not telling you anything that’s secret and obviously I would never do something like that. I am a former JNE Commissioner and so I do have this information. I have dealt with this and I think it’s a great body sanctioned by the State Bar. All of their meetings are obviously secret and no one who is a former or current Commissioner is going to give any specific information about the candidates for the JNE Commission or anything that the State Bar does not want the general public to know.
But, if you Google it and you go on the State Bar’s website you’re going to see information about the JNE Commission. It is a 38-person Commission. When I was on it – which I believe was in 2002 – everybody would investigate their candidates and then we would meet in San Francisco, and then each of the candidates would be rated by the entire JNE Commission. The commissioners basically do their investigation and they give their recommendations to the Commission who ultimately makes the final decision on it.
It’s interesting because the question becomes what does the Governor really do with these evaluations and ratings by the JNE Commission? Nobody really knows, probably not even the JNE Commission itself. The Governor probably just uses that as one factor in deciding whether or not the individuals is going to become a judge in Los Angeles or throughout California. It’s a very interesting investigation that’s done, because it really looks into the background of the person and it does a very thorough investigation. It does a nice report for the Governor, so definitely thinks it’s of value. I think the State Bar does a great job with it and I think the JNE Commission has a lot of value to the Governor and to the State of California and the hard work that they do in evaluating potential judges and letting the Governor know the strengths and weaknesses of individuals he might be considering appointing as a judge in this great State of California.
If you want more information on the JNE Commission, you can certainly go on the State Bar’s website or probably even call the State Bar. They have individuals who are in charge of this Commission and the people that I met on the Commission when I was on it were wonderful. It was a great experience – a great memory. It was a volunteer position, so you don’t get paid for it. I wish I could have done it for a longer period of time, but it does take some time. It does take some work. The JNE Commissioners really take their job seriously. So, they’re going to do everything they possibly can to make sure that whoever the candidate is that they’re evaluating, gets a fair evaluation and the Governor gets the right information to make the right choice as to whether or not this person is going to become a judge or not.
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