Joint Bar Committee
The Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Appointments is one of the
last layers of review in the judicial nominating process and works
to ensure that candidates for the tenure positions are both
qualified and competent.
The independent and nonpartisan entity is comprised of two
dozen attorneys from across the state, including three members each
of the Massachusetts and Boston bar associations. For a full list
of members, click here.
The committee reviews, evaluates, votes and reports on the
qualifications of individuals under consideration for all judicial
appointments - including clerk-magistrates - to all courts of the
commonwealth. Its votes, which range from "well qualified" to
"insufficient information to evaluate," remain confidential. For an
explanation of the judicial process, click here.
The committee considers several aspects of an individual before
it takes a vote and submits a report to the governor and/or the
Governor's Council, which must approve and appoint the candidate.
Among the qualities considered are integrity, reputation, knowledge
and ability in the field of law, professional experience, judicial
temperament and commitment to public service.
The committee began its formal role in 1961, and in years prior,
served as an informal reviewer of judicial nominees. For the
full rules of the committee, click