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 or a mandatory retirement age.
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 or a mandatory retirement age.
Known as the Law Court when sitting as an appellate court, the Supreme Court’s other functions include hearing appeals of sentences longer than one year of incarceration, overseeing admission to the bar and the conduct of its members, and promulgating rules for all the state’s courts.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is one of the few state supreme courts in the United States authorized to issue advisory opinions, which it does upon request by the governor or legislature, as set out in the Maine Constitution.
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 for the Supreme Court’s proceedings. The court did meet there from 1830 until 1970, when it permanently moved to the Cumberland County Courthouse. The 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.
The MSJC is also authorized to rule on the fitness of the Governor of Maine to serve in office, which it does upon the Maine Secretary of State certifying to the court that the governor is temporarily unable to carry out the duties of that office. The court must then hold a hearing and, if it agrees that the governor is unfit, declare the office of governor temporarily vacant and transfer its duties to the President of the Maine Senate, who would serve as acting governor. If the Secretary of State later certifies to the Supreme Court that the governor is fit to resume office, the court would then decide whether it agrees.
As of June 8, 2021, the justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court are:
|Name||Born||Residence||Appointed by||Service began||Law school||Prior positions|
|Valerie Stanfill, Chief Justice||1957/1958 (age 63–64)||Wayne||Janet Mills (D)||June 8, 2021||Maine||Judge Maine Superior Court (2020–2021)|
|Andrew Mead||1952 (age 68–69)||Bangor||John Baldacci (D)||March 22, 2007||New York||Judge Maine Superior Court (1992–2007)|
|Ellen Gorman||November 9, 1955||Falmouth||John Baldacci (D)||October 1, 2007||Cornell||Judge Maine Superior Court (2000–2007)|
|Joseph Jabar||July 9, 1946||Waterville||John Baldacci (D)||September 1, 2009||Maine||Judge Maine Superior Court (2001–2009)|
|Thomas E. Humphrey||November 19, 1945||Sanford||Paul LePage (R)||June 9, 2015||Boston College||Chief Judge Maine Superior Court (2004–2015)|
|Andrew M. Horton||August 28, 1949||Falmouth||Janet Mills (D)||February 4, 2020||Georgetown||Judge Maine Superior Court (2007–2020)|
|Catherine Connors||January 26, 1959||Kennebunk||Janet Mills (D)||February 4, 2020||Northwestern||–|
There are two active retired justices.
|Name||Born||Residence||Appointed by||Service began||Ended service||Active retired|
|Law school||Prior positions|
|Robert W. Clifford ||May 2, 1937||Lewiston||Joseph E. Brennan (D)||August 1, 1986||August 31, 2009||September 1, 2009||Boston College (JD)|
|Chief Justice of Superior Court|
|Jeffrey L. Hjelm||September 30, 1955||Camden||Paul LePage (R)||August 1, 2014||December 2019||February 2020||Case Western Reserve||Superior court|
- Constitution of 1820
- Amendment to the constitution, 1839
- Current constitution
- “State of Maine Judicial Branch: Supreme Court”. State of Maine Judicial Branch. 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
- “Talks continue on Kennebec courthouse parking area”. Kennebec Journal. June 23, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- “Historic Kennebec County Courthouse in Augusta to host Maine Supreme Judicial Court again”. Kennebec Journal. September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
- “What it takes to remove a governor from office”. Kennebec Journal. August 26, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
- “Janet Mills names Androscoggin County judge to lead state’s highest court”. news.yahoo.com. May 10, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
- Judy Harrison (2009-05-30). “Justice leaving Maine supreme court”. Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Maine Supreme Judicial Court official website
- Maine Supreme Judicial Court Opinions
- “Maine”, Caselaw Access Project, Harvard Law School, OCLC 1078785565,
Court decisions freely available to the public online, in a consistent format, digitized from the collection of the Harvard Law Library