Judicial Nominating Committee

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A former government watchdog says governors and state legislators have weakened efforts meant to depoliticize the selection of judges.

The Judicial Nominating Commission was created 20 years ago to try to lessen the General Assembly’s influence on picking judges. The JNC is supposed to choose 3 to 5 highly qualified candidates, and the legislature is expected to act quickly once a governor picks a judge. But former Common Cause head Phil West said governors and lawmakers have fouled up the process.

Don Boorman / RIPR

A top aide to Governor Lincoln Chafee and a former counsel for the speaker of the House are among six candidates to become a Superior Court judge.  Interviews of the candidates are tentatively scheduled for early next year.

Those hoping to become a Superior Court judge include Richard Licht, director of the state Department of Administration. The state Ethics Commission recently found Licht isn’t subject to a requirement to spend a year outside government before trying to become a judge