A Vermont Creation of a Unified Judicial System Amendment
was on the March 4, 1974 ballot
as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment
, where it was approved
, becoming Article 46 of the Vermont Constitution
The amendment made several changes to the administration of Vermont courts and judges:
- It provides for a unified judicial system composed of a Supreme Court, a Superior Court, and "such other subordinate courts as the Legislature may establish".
- It removed the requirement that courts be maintained in every county.
- It said that all courts except the Supreme Court can be "divided into geographical and functional divisions as provided by law or by judicial rules adopted by the Supreme Court not inconsistent with law."
- It gave to the Vermont Supreme Court "administrative control over all courts and disciplinary control over all judges and attorneys in the State."
- It vested rulemaking authority in the Supreme Court subject to revision by the Legislature.
- It provided for six year terms of office for Justice of the Supreme Court and Superior Judges.
- It provided for a judicial nominating body for selection of nominees to fill judicial vacancies except for Assistant Judges and Probate Judges.
- It empowered the Governor of Vermont, with the advice and consent of the Vermont State Senate, to fill judicial vacancies.
- It provided for retention in office at end of their terms of Justices of the Supreme Court and Superior Judges by vote of the Vermont State Legislature.
- It required mandatory retirement of Justices of the Supreme Court and Superior Judges at the end of the calendar year in which they attain 70 years of age or at the end of the term of election during which they attain 70 years of age.
- It provided that the manner and certification of elections and filling of vacancies in the offices of the Assistant Judges, Sheriffs, State's Attorneys, Judges of Probate, and Justices of the Peace shall be as established by law.
- It provided for four-year terms of office for Assistant Judges, Sheriffs, State's Attorneys and Probate Judges.
- It prohibited the exercise of judicial powers by Justices of the Peace.
- It eliminated the High Bailiff as a constitutional officer.
- It eliminated the prohibition against waiver of trials by jury by one accused of a felony.