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JNC's "Life as a Judge on the DC Courts"

The Judicial Nomination Commission (JNC) recently held its “Life as a Judge on the DC Courts” forum for members of the public interested in joining the bench.  The public forum consisted of two panels that discussed the process of selecting DC judges and the rewards and challenges of life as a judge, respectively. 

The first panel was composed of the members of the JNC, including its chair, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, and their Executive Director, Kim Whatley.   The commissioners answered many questions regarding the types of experience they look for in a judicial candidate, references, temperament, as well as the mechanics of the application process itself.  The commissioners made clear to the audience that a candidate must have had a respectable career, avoiding impropriety in their legal and financial dealings.  Several commissioners also described the importance of being active in the community, saying that they want to see any community service a candidate has performed. 

The second panel was composed of active judges on the DC Court of Appeals and DC Superior Court, who spoke candidly of the unique aspects of serving the community as judges.  They discussed why they became judges, the pressures of the position, their role as public figures and community leaders, as well as the joys of the job.

CCE described the structure of the JNC and the mechanics of the judicial application and nomination process in detail in our 2011 publication How the District of Columbia Gets Its Judges.

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