SECTION 1. JUDICIAL POWER AND JURISDICTION. The judicial power of the
State is vested in a supreme court, a superior court, and the courts
established by the legislature. The jurisdiction of courts shall be
prescribed by law. The courts shall constitute a unified judicial system
for operation and administration. Judicial districts shall be
established by law.
SECTION 2. SUPREME COURT.
(a) The supreme court shall be the highest court of the State, with
final appellate jurisdiction. It shall consist of three justices, one of
whom is chief justice. The number of justices may be increased by law
upon the request of the supreme court.
(b) The chief justice shall be selected from among the justices of the
supreme court by a majority vote of the justices. His term of office as
chief justice is three years. A justice may serve more than one term as
chief justice but he may not serve consecutive terms in that office.
SECTION 3. SUPERIOR COURT. The superior court shall be the trial court
of general jurisdiction and shall consist of five judges. The number of
judges may be changed by law.
SECTION 4. QUALIFICATIONS OF JUSTICES AND JUDGES. Supreme court justices
and superior court judges shall be citizens of the United States and of
the State, licensed to practice law in the State, and possessing any
additional qualifications prescribed by law. Judges of other courts
shall be selected in a manner, for terms, and with qualifications
prescribed by law.
SECTION 5. NOMINATION AND APPOINTMENT. The governor shall fill any
vacancy in an office of supreme court justice or superior court judge by
appointing one of two or more persons nominated by the judicial council.
SECTION 6. APPROVAL OR REJECTION. Each supreme court justice and
superior court judge shall, in the manner provided by law, be subject to
approval or rejection on a nonpartisan ballot at the first general
election held more than three years after his appointment. Thereafter,
each supreme court justice shall be subject to approval or rejection in
a like manner every tenth year, and each superior court judge, every
SECTION 7. VACANCY. The office of any supreme court justice or superior
court judge becomes vacant ninety days after the election at which he is
rejected by a majority of those voting on the question, or for which he
fails to file his declaration of candidacy to succeed himself.
SECTION 8. JUDICIAL COUNCIL. The judicial council shall consist of seven
members. Three attorney members shall be appointed for six-year terms by
the governing body of the organized state bar. Three non-attorney
members shall be appointed for six-year terms by the governor subject to
confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint
session. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term in like
manner. Appointments shall be made with due consideration to area
representation and without regard to political affiliation. The chief
justice of the supreme court shall be ex-officio the seventh member and
chairman of the judicial council. No member of the judicial council,
except the chief justice, may hold any other office or position of
profit under the United States or the State. The judicial council shall
act by concurrence of four or more members and according to rules which
SECTION 9. ADDITIONAL DUTIES. The judicial council shall conduct studies
for improvement of the administration of justice, and make reports and
recommendations to the supreme court and to the legislature at intervals
of not more than two years. The judicial council shall perform other
duties assigned by law.
SECTION 10. COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT. The Commission on Judicial
Conduct shall consist of nine members, as follows: three persons who are
justices or judges of state courts, elected by the justices and judges
of state courts; three members who have practiced law in this state for
ten years, appointed by the governor from nominations made by the
governing body of the organized bar and subject to confirmation by a
majority of the members of the legislature in joint session; and three
persons who are not judges, retired judges, or members of the state bar,
appointed by the governor and subject to confirmation by a majority of
the members of the legislature in joint session. In addition to being
subject to impeachment under Section 12 of this article, a justice or
judge may be disqualified from acting as such and may be suspended,
removed from office, retired, or censured by the supreme court upon the
recommendation of the commission. The powers and duties of the
commission and the bases for judicial disqualification shall be
established by law.
SECTION 11. RETIREMENT. Justices and judges shall be retired at the age
of seventy except as provided in this article. The basis and amount of
retirement pay shall be prescribed by law. Retired judges shall render
no further service on the bench except for special assignments as
provided by court rule.
SECTION 12. IMPEACHMENT. Impeachment of any justice or judge for
malfeasance or misfeasance in the performance of his official duties
shall be according to procedure prescribed for civil officers.
SECTION 13. COMPENSATION. Justices, judges, and members of the judicial
council and the Commission on Judicial Qualifications shall receive
compensation as prescribed by law. Compensation of justices and judges
shall not be diminished during their terms of office, unless by general
law applying to all salaried officers of the State.
SECTION 14. RESTRICTIONS. Supreme court justices and superior court
judges while holding office may not practice law, hold office in a
political party, or hold any other office or position of profit under
the United States, the State, or its political subdivisions. Any supreme
court justice or superior court judge filing for another elective public
office forfeits his judicial position.
SECTION 15. RULE-MAKING POWER. The supreme court shall make and
promulgate rules governing the administration of all courts. It shall
make and promulgate rules governing practice and procedure in civil and
criminal cases in all courts. These rules may be changed by the
legislature by two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house.
SECTION 16. COURT ADMINISTRATION. The chief justice of the supreme court
shall be the administrative head of all courts. He may assign judges
from one court or division thereof to another for temporary service. The
chief justice shall, with the approval of the supreme court, appoint an
administrative director to serve at the pleasure of the supreme court
and to supervise the administrative operations of the judicial system.