The Governor's Council

The council, is referred to as the Executive Council, but is more commonly known as the Governor’s Council. The council was created by the Constitution of Massachusetts as adopted in 1780. Part the Second, Chapter II, Section I, Article IX of the Massachusetts Constitution specifically calls for the council to give their advice and consent to the Executive upon his nomination of a candidate to judicial office. The council consists of eight members, elected every two years, who are charged with representing regional districts.


The council has its own questionnaire that nominees must complete. These questionnaires, although not as exhaustive as a JNC application, elicit important information that is available to the public upon request after the conclusion of the council’s vote.  Upon nomination by the Governor, a nominee’s public hearing before the council is generally scheduled within a few weeks.  At this time in Massachusetts history, council assemblies are presided over by the Governor or Lieutenant Governor. However, currently there is a non-binding procedure that allows a councilor [who usually represents the district in which the nominee resides] to preside over the nominees hearing. Hearings occur in the council chambers, located within the Governor’s office, and are attended by anyone who wishes to be heard regarding a candidate’s nomination. Adverse witnesses may appear and will be heard by the council. Although, these assemblies are not subject to the open meeting law, they have been as a matter of practice open to the public. The Constitution requires that each “…nomination shall be made by the Governor…at least seven days prior to such appointment.”[1]

[1] The Massachusetts Constitution, Part the Second, Chapter II, Section I, Article IX.

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