The Governor has vetoed** a bill that would eliminate the 2018 judicial primaries–including those for open seats on the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.  It is not clear if the bill has sufficient support to overcome the veto.

Senate bill 656, if it becomes law, would instead allow candidates to file their notices of candidacy between June 18 and June 29, 2018, and then be listed on the ballot in the general election.

Of course, we all remember one recent general election for an open Court of Appeals seat that was held without a primary.  Nineteen candidates ran.

There is a fair bit of speculation as to whether this provision of the bill is linked to a move away from judicial elections towards merit or legislative selection.  There are also reports that Court of Appeals Judge Robert N. Hunter has prepared a constitutional amendment that would allow for judicial appointments in lieu of elections.

There will be much more on this subject in the coming months, I suspect.  We’ll keep you posted.

–Matt Leerberg

**Original post preceded Governor’s veto.  The post has been edited accordingly.