Bill to put one state's Judicial Conduct Commission under military control

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Like many states, North Dakota has a Judicial Conduct Commission that "has the power to investigate complaints against any judge in the state" and to recommend to the state Supreme Court that a judge be removed. (While a recommendation is pending, the judge is suspended from office, just on the commission's recommendation.) The commission currently "consists of two judges of the district court, one lawyer licensed to practice law in this state, and four citizens who are not judges, retired judges, or lawyers"; the judges are appointed by the judges' association, the lawyer by the state bar board of governors, and the four citizen members by the governor.

But newly elected state representative Jeffery Magrum has proposed that the commission's membership be changed to be seven non-judges and non-lawyers, all of whom "must be active or retired military" and "must be appointed by the adjutant general" of North Dakota, who is the head of the state national guard. The American tradition is of civilian control of the military; indeed, the North Dakota Bill of Rights provides that "[t]he military shall be subordinate to the civil power." Yet this bill would partly subject one branch of the state government to the supervision of the head of the state military.

Not a good idea, I think, even for fans of Starship Troopers. Thanks to Bill Raftery (Gavel to Gavel) for the pointer.

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