Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Indeglia to retire, governor to appoint first nominee to court

Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Gilbert Indeglia is retiring on June 30, 2020. Indeglia joined the court in April 2010 after being nominated by Gov. Donald Carcieri (R). Before that, Indeglia was a judge on the Rhode Island Superior Court from 2000 to 2010 and on the Rhode Island District Court from 1989 to 2000. From 1985 to 1991, Indeglia was a Republican member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. He received his B.A. from Boston College in 1963 and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1966.

State court judges in Rhode Island are chosen using the assisted appointment method. Rhode Island Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor with help from the state Judicial Nominating Commission. Supreme court nominees must be approved by both the state House and the state Senate. Indeglia’s replacement will be Governor Gina Raimondo’s (D) first nominee to the five-member supreme court.

The Rhode Island Judicial Nominating Commission has nine members, four of whom must be attorneys. Five commissioners are selected by the governor with input from the speaker of the House, the state Senate president, and the minority leaders of the state legislature. The remaining four are selected solely by the governor.

Rhode Island is one of only three states where judges serve lifetime terms, and, of those states, it is the only one without a mandatory retirement age.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. It currently includes the following justices:

  • Francis Flaherty – Appointed by Gov. Donald Carcieri (R) in 2003
  • Maureen McKenna Goldberg – Appointed by Gov. Lincoln Almond (R) in 1997
  • Gilbert Indeglia – Appointed by Gov. Carcieri in 2010
  • William Robinson – Appointed by Gov. Carcieri in 2004
  • Paul Suttell – Appointed by Gov. Carcieri in 2003

In 2020, there have been seven supreme court vacancies in six of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies were caused by retirements. Four vacancies are in states where a Democratic governor appoints the replacement. The other three are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement.

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Additional reading:
State supreme court vacancies, 2020
Rhode Island Supreme Court
Gilbert V. Indeglia
Judicial selection in Rhode Island
Rhode Island Judicial Nominating Commission