Replacing a Judge in the Nebraska Trial Court System

Replacing a Judge in the Nebraska Trial Court System

Judicial Resources Commission

When a Judge of the District, County or Separate Juvenile Court leaves office, the initial step is a public hearing with the Judicial Resources Commission.

The basic duty of the Commission is to hold public hearings throughout the year to determine whether or not a judicial vacancy exists when a judge leaves the bench.  The Commission’s recommendations are to be based on:  Analysis of judicial workload statistics, whether litigants have adequate access to the courts, population of the Judicial District, other judicial duties and travel time within district.

If a vacancy is determined (which it usually is) the second step is the Judicial Nominating Commission.

Nebraska’s Judicial Nominating Commission

In Nebraska, the merit selection system (originally adopted by a constitutional amendment in 1962) is used for all levels of judges.  Merit selection uses nominating commissions to screen, interview, and solicit judicial applicants.

If/when a vacancy is determined; the Judicial Nominating Commission is responsible to put forth their best efforts in finding the most qualified individuals to accept nomination for judicial office.

Judicial Nominating Commission Timeline

  • Deadline for Public Hearing: 60 days from time the vacancy is announced by Resources Commission.
  • Deadline for applications to be sent to Supreme Court chairperson:  21 days prior to public hearing.
  • Applicants' names released to press:  10 days prior to public hearing.
  • Deadline for sending selected names to Governor:  90 days from time that vacancy occurs.

*Vacancy announced by Resources Commission
*Nominating Commission Public hearing (within 60 days) - announced by Judicial Branch
*Names to Governor (within 90 days) - announced by Governor

Announcements regarding the date/time/place of the above hearings and the names of lawyers applying for the judgeships come from the Nebraska Supreme Court.  The announcement of the applicants to be interviewed by the Governor and the individual ultimately selected for the judgeship comes from the Governor’s office.

** Press Releases for these public meetings are found on our Press Releases page.