Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm announced on September 20 that he is retiring, effective upon the confirmation of his successor.
Selection of state supreme court justices in Maine occurs through gubernatorial appointment, although the governor’s nominee must be confirmed by the Maine State Senate. Once confirmed, justices serve seven-year terms and must be reappointed if they wish to serve additional seven-year terms.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is the court of last resort in the state. It currently includes the following justices:
- Chief Justice Leigh Ingalls Saufley – first appointed by Gov. Angus King (I)
- Justice Ellen Gorman – first appointed by Gov. John Baldacci (D)
- Justice Thomas Humphrey – first appointed by Gov. Paul LePage (R)
- Justice Joseph Jabar – first appointed by Gov. John Baldacci (D)
- Justice Andrew Mead – first appointed by Gov. Paul LePage (R)
- Justice Donald Alexander – first appointed by Gov. Angus King (I)
- Justice Jeffrey L. Hjelm – first appointed by Gov. Paul LePage (R)
Hjelm was nominated to the court by LePage on May 7, 2014, to succeed Jon Levy. Hjelm’s appointment was confirmed July 24, 2014. He previously served on the Knox County Superior Court from 1998 to 2014 and the Maine District Courts from 1992 to 1998. Hjelm received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College and his J.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
In 2019, there have been 19 supreme court vacancies across 13 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Of those 19 vacancies, 12 are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. Six vacancies occurred in a state where a Democratic governor fills vacancies, while another occurred in a state where a Republican-controlled legislature appoints replacements.