Investigation and Evaluation

Initiation of Investigation 

Upon receipt, notice or knowledge of a nomination or proposed nomination, the committee chair shall obtain such resumes, questionnaires and other information as are necessary or appropriate. The chair shall distribute the material to all committee members.

 

Methods of Investigation  

If circumstances warrant, the committee may interview the candidate.

Committee members shall:

  • Examine the resumes, questionnaires and other available information;
  • Interview judges, attorneys, court personnel and other individuals who may have pertinent information regarding the candidate;
  • Receive comments and information from other committee members;
  • If circumstances warrant, committee members may individually speak with or request clarification from the candidate and/or review any legal writings of the candidate;
  • Obtain such further information as may be necessary or proper.

 

Criteria for Evaluation  

The Committee shall maintain a consistent evaluation process, which shall include an assessment of:

  • The candidate’s integrity, character and reputation;
  • The candidate’s knowledge and ability in the field of law;
  • The candidate’s professional experience. In evaluating experience, the committee recognizes that women and members of certain minority groups have entered the profession in large numbers only in recent years and that their opportunities for advancement in the profession may have been limited;
  • The candidate’s judicial temperament;
  • The candidate’s work habits and diligence;
  • The candidate’s financial responsibility;
  • The candidate’s commitment to public service;
  • Such other criteria as the panel for committee shall from time to time deem necessary to complete a full and fair evaluation.

Voting

After committee members have reported their findings, the committee shall consider and vote upon the evaluation of the candidate as: “well qualified;” “qualified;” “not qualified” or “insufficient information to evaluate.”

Voting may be accomplished by such means as may be established by the chair. The chair shall also establish a deadline by which all committee members must vote. A quorum of 13 members voting by the established deadline shall be necessary for the vote to be valid. If a valid vote has occurred, a candidate receiving a majority of votes cast in any given category by the established deadline shall be reported to the Governor and/or the Governor’s Council as “well qualified”, “qualified”, “not qualified” or “insufficient information to evaluate.”   

If a candidate receives less than a majority of votes of “well qualified,” but when votes of “qualified” and “well qualified” are combined those combined votes constitute a majority of all votes cast, that candidate shall be reported as “qualified.” 

 

In the event that the committee has voted a candidate “not qualified” or “insufficient information to evaluate,” the candidate shall be immediately notified and afforded an opportunity to be heard by the committee. Immediately following said hearing, the committee members present may vote to reconsider the prior vote. Upon a majority vote of the committee members present and voting, the committee shall revote upon the candidate in such manner and at such time as the chair shall establish. Upon the completion of the original voting or revote, the chair shall submit the evaluation to the Governor and/or the Governor’s Council.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association