RI House Republicans Call on Governor to Follow the Law and Immediately Appoint One of Their Nominees to the Judicial Nominating
Memorial Park, Providence, RI – The Rhode Island House Republican Caucus is publically demanding that Governor Raimondo take action to appoint one of the Republican Caucus’ minority community nominees to the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC).
On July 6, 2020, Leader Blake Filippi, on behalf of the House Republican Caucus and pursuant to Chapter 16.1-2 of Title 8, nominated three qualified and dedicated minority community individuals to Governor Raimondo for appointment to the Judicial Nominating Commission. Despite numerous requests for updates, Governor Raimondo refused to appoint any those nominees. Accordingly, on August 31, 2020, Leader Filippi rescinded the prior nominations, and nominated three more qualified and dedicated minority community for appointment by the Governor. Once again, there has been no response from the Governor despite repeated House Republican requests for action or updates.
Leader Blake Filippi’s remarks:
“With the JNC poised to commence interviews with potential judicial nominees to our Supreme, Superior and Family Courts, it is long past time for the Governor to meet her statutory obligation to appoint one of the House Republicans’ nominees to the JNC. Governor Raimondo’s refusal to make this appointment, as required by the JNC Act, undermines the legitimacy of these pending judicial nominations.”
“Over the past few months, we have heard the impassioned calls from our colleagues, and from all corners of Rhode Island, about the need to diversify our Judiciary – most importantly to elevate a highly-qualified person of color to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. While we most certainly have a top-notch judiciary, we cannot deny the experience of minority communities that rarely encounter judges that look like them, and that this may undermine their faith in our judicial system. It is with this understanding that House Republicans have embarked upon our appointment to the JNC.”
“As we set out to submit candidates for consideration, we observed that there is a lack of diversity on the JNC, which is contrary to the law. The JNC is similarly directed to diversify our judiciary. If lawmakers and the Governor don’t heed the law to appoint a diversified JNC, we cannot expect the JNC to follow the law and create a diversified Judiciary.”
“Accordingly, we are trying to do our part to change composition of the JNC through the appointment of highly-qualified members of minority communities. Moreover, we have the utmost faith that our nominees will heed their statutory obligations to develop a diversified judiciary – not only because they are upstanding citizens, but also because they are from underrepresented communities.”
“The confirmation of our appointment is most-urgent because the JNC has scheduled interviews for judicial vacancies in the Supreme, Superior and Family Courts. The Governor’s continued refusal to act on our nomination not only violates the JNC Act, it alienates minority communities that are underrepresented on the JNC and in our judiciary.”
Representative Michael Chippendale remarks:
“Since early 2019, members of our Caucus have been meeting with minority community leaders to better understand how state government can best serve their communities, including how to fix our education system, overcome language barriers, reform the criminal justice system, and address the employment divide. A common theme in nearly all of our meetings was the lack of diversity in our judiciary. As the House Republican Caucus, one of the areas where we can directly and immediately effect change is on the makeup of the JNC. Our intent is to appoint a highly qualified member to the JNC who, by their experiences within Rhode Island’s minority communities, can add a much-needed perspective to the judicial nomination process.”
The Rhode Island House of Representatives Minority Caucus (Republican) is comprised of the following elected members representing constituents who live in the following districts throughout the Ocean State: Minority Leader, Blake Filippi, District 36 (Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly, New Shoreham); Minority Whip, Michael Chippendale, District 40 (Foster, Glocester, Coventry); Representative John Lyle, Jr., District 46 (Lincoln, Pawtucket); Representative George Nardone, District 28 (Coventry); Representative Brian Newberry, District 48 (North Smithfield, Burrillville); Representative David Place, District 47 (Burrillville, Glocester); Senior Deputy Minority Leader Justin Price, District 39 (Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond); Deputy Minority Leader Robert Quattrocchi, District 41 (Scituate, Cranston); Deputy Whip Sherry Roberts, District 29 (Coventry, West Greenwich).
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