Maine Supreme Judicial Court

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Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Seal of Maine.svg
Established 1830
Country Maine Maine
United States United States
Location Varies; primarily Portland, Maine
Coordinates 43°39′33″N 70°15′13″W / 43.659245°N 70.253701°W / 43.659245; -70.253701
MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT Latitude and Longitude:

43°39′33″N 70°15′13″W / 43.659245°N 70.253701°W / 43.659245; -70.253701
Authorized by Maine Constitution
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States
Website Official website
Chief Justice
Currently Leigh Ingalls Saufley
Since December 6, 2001
Lead position ends March 1, 2023

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is the highest court in the state of Maine's judicial system. It is composed of seven justices, who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Maine Senate. From 1820 until 1839, justices served lifetime appointments with a mandatory retirement age of 70. Beginning in 1839, justices are appointed for seven-year terms, with no limit on the number of terms that they may serve. [1] [2] [3]

Known as the Law Court when sitting as an appellate court, other functions of the Court include hearing appeals of sentences longer than one year of incarceration, overseeing admission to the Bar and the conduct of its members, and being the rulemaking authority for all the State's courts. [4]

The Maine Court is one of the few state Supreme Courts in the United States authorized to issue advisory opinions. Such opinions are issued at the request of the Governor or Legislature, as set out in the Maine Constitution. [4]

It is also unusual for a state's highest appellate court in that its primary location is not that of the state's capital city, Augusta, partially because the Kennebec County Courthouse did not have a courtroom large enough to hold the Supreme Court's proceedings in. [5] The Court did meet there from 1830 until 1970, when it moved to the Cumberland County Courthouse on a permanent basis. The completed renovation of the Kennebec County Courthouse in 2015, which included expansion of the bench in its largest courtroom to permit all 7 MSJC justices to sit there, will allow the Court to meet there at least twice a year. It will also continue to meet in Portland, Bangor, and at high schools around the state. [6]

The MSJC is also authorized to rule on the fitness of the Governor of Maine to serve in their office, upon the Maine Secretary of State certifying before the Court their belief that the Governor is temporarily unable to carry out their duties. The Court is then required to hold a hearing and, if it agrees with the Secretary, declare the Governor's Office temporarily vacant and transfer its duties to the President of the Maine Senate who would serve as Acting Governor. Upon the Governor becoming able to resume their duties, the Secretary of State would certify that before the Court, which would then decide if it agrees. [7]

Current justices

As of January 1, 2015, the justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court were:

Name Date of Birth Residence Appointed By Beginning Service Prior Positions
Leigh Ingalls Saufley
(Chief Justice)
(1954-06-21) June 21, 1954 (age 63) Portland Angus King October 20, 1997
December 6, 2001
Donald G. Alexander 1942 (age 74–75) Winthrop Angus King September 2, 1998
Andrew M. Mead 1952 (age 64–65) Bangor John E. Baldacci March 22, 2007
Ellen A. Gorman 1955 (age 61–62) Falmouth John E. Baldacci October 1, 2007
Joseph Jabar 1946 (age 70–71) Waterville John E. Baldacci September 1, 2009 Superior Court
Jeffrey L. Hjelm 1956 (age 60–61) Camden Paul LePage August 1, 2014 Superior Court
Thomas E. Humphrey 1945 (age 71–72) Sanford Paul LePage June 9, 2015 Chief Justice of Maine Superior Court

There is one active retired justice.

Name Date of birth Residence Appointed by Beginning service Ended service Active retired
service began
Prior positions
Robert W. Clifford [8] (1937-05-02) May 2, 1937 (age 80) Lewiston Joseph E. Brennan August 1, 1986 August 31, 2009 September 1, 2009 Chief Justice of Superior Court

MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT INFORMATION

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