Minnesota Judicial Retention Election Amendment (2012)

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The Minnesota Judicial Retention Election Amendment did not appear on the November 2012 ballot in Minnesota as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure proposed retention elections for state judges. Under the current system, judges are elected to six-year terms. However, under the retention election model, the Governor would initially appoint judges. In the following general election, at least one year after the Governor's appointment, the judge would be subject to a retention vote. If the public votes to retain the judge, he or she would serve an eight-year term.

The amendment would have also created a nonpartisan judicial performance evaluation commission to "evaluate in a nonpartisan manner the performance of judges according to criteria that the commission develops and publishes, and any other criteria established by law." The measure also required that the Governor choose nominees from a list created by a merit selection commission.[1]

The measure was introduced by State Rep. Michael Beard (R).[2]

Text of measure

The ballot language of the measure would have read as follows:[1]

"Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to strengthen the impartiality of the judiciary by providing that all judges be appointed by the governor from a list of candidates nominated by a merit selection commission, in the manner provided by law, with their continuation in office determined at a retention election after a public, nonpartisan evaluation of their performance by an independent performance evaluation commission?"

  • YES
  • NO

Constitutional changes

The proposed amendment would have added a section to Article VI of the Minnesota Constitution[1]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Minnesota Constitution

In order to refer proposed amendments to the ballot they must be agreed on by a majority of the members of each chamber of the Minnesota State Legislature. The 2012 legislative session ended before the measure was passed on to the ballot.

See also

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