Section 1. The judicial power of the state is vested in a unified judicial system consisting of a supreme court, a district court, and such other courts as may be provided by law.
Section 2. The supreme court shall be the highest court of the state. It shall have appellate jurisdiction, and shall also have original jurisdiction with authority to issue, hear, and determine such original and remedial writs as may be necessary to properly exercise its jurisdiction. The supreme court shall consist of five justices, one of whom shall be designated chief justice in the manner provided by law.
Section 3. The supreme court shall have authority to promulgate rules of procedure, including appellate procedure, to be followed by all the courts of this state; and, unless otherwise provided by law, to promulgate rules and regulations for the admission to practice, conduct, disciplining, and disbarment of attorneys at law.
The chief justice shall be the administrative head of the unified judicial system. He may assign judges, including retired judges, for temporary duty in any court or district under such rules and regulations as may be promulgated by the supreme court. The chief justice shall appoint a court administrator for the unified judicial system. Unless otherwise provided by law, the powers, duties, qualifications, and terms of office of the court administrator, and other court officials, shall be as provided by rules of the court.
Section 4. A majority of the supreme court shall be necessary to constitute a quorum or to pronounce a decision, provided that the supreme court shall not declare a legislative enactment unconstitutional unless at least four of the members of the court so decide.
Section 5. When a judgment or order is reversed, modified, or confirmed by the supreme court, the reasons shall be concisely stated in writing, signed by the justices concurring, filed in the office of the clerk of the supreme court, and preserved with a record of the case. Any justice dissenting may give the reason for his dissent in writing over his signature.
Section 6. Appeals shall be allowed from decisions of lower courts to the supreme court as may be provided by law.
Section 7. The justices of the supreme court shall be chosen by the electors of the state for ten-year terms, so arranged that one justice is elected every two years. They shall hold office until their successors are duly qualified, and shall receive compensation as provided by law, but the compensation of any justice shall not be diminished during his term of office.
Section 8. The district court shall have original jurisdiction of all causes, except as otherwise provided by law, and such appellate jurisdiction as may be provided by law or by rule of the supreme court. The district court shall have authority to issue such writs as are necessary to the proper exercise of its jurisdiction.
Section 9. The state shall be divided into judicial districts by order of the supreme court. In each district, one or more judges, as provided by law, shall be chosen by the electors of the district. The term of office shall be six years, and a district judge shall hold office until his successor is duly qualified. The compensation of district judges shall be fixed by law, but the compensation of any district judge shall not be diminished during his term of office.
Section 10. Supreme court justices and district court judges shall be citizens of the United States and residents of this state, shall be learned in the law, and shall possess any additional qualifications prescribed by law. Judges of other courts shall be selected for such terms and shall have such qualifications as may be prescribed by law.
No justice of the supreme court or judge of the district court of this state shall engage in the practice of law, or hold any public office, elective or appointive, not judicial in nature. No duties shall be imposed by law upon the supreme court or any of the justices thereof, except such as are judicial, nor shall any of the justices exercise any power of appointment except as herein provided. No judge of any court of this state shall be paid from the fees of his office, nor shall the amount of his compensation be measured by fees, other moneys received, or the amount of judicial activity of his office.
Section 11. When any justice or judge has a conflict of interest in a pending cause or is unable to sit in court because he is physically or mentally incapacitated, the chief justice, or a justice acting in his stead, shall assign a judge, or retired justice or judge, to hear the cause.
Section 12. The legislative assembly may provide for the retirement, discipline, and removal of judges. The removal procedure provided for herein may be used in addition to the impeachment proceedings provided for in article XI, sections 8, 9, and 10, and removal provided for in article XI, section 11.
Section 12.1. The legislative assembly may provide for the retirement, discipline and removal of judges of the supreme court and district court. The removal procedure provided for herein may be used in addition to the impeachment proceedings provided for in article XI, sections 8, 9, and 10.
- A judicial nominating committee must be established by law. The governor shall fill any vacancy in the office of supreme court justice or district court judge by appointment from a list of candidates nominated by the committee, unless the governor calls a special election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term. Except as provided in subsection 2, an appointment must continue until the next general election, when the office must be filled by election for the remainder of the term.
- An appointment must continue for at least two years. If the term of the appointed judgeship expires before the judge has served at least two years, the judge shall continue in the position until the next general election immediately following the service of at least two years.
- 3. Notwithstanding sections 7 and 9 of this article, the term of the judge elected at the subsequent general election provided for in subsection 2 is reduced to the number of years remaining in the subsequent term after the appointee has served at least two years.