Today, the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) accepted public comment on filling a vacancy on the R.I. Supreme Court. One of the individuals the JNC is considering to recommend to be a Supreme Court Justice is Senator Erin Lynch Prata. Senator Lynch Prata has refused to honor Rhode Island’s revolving door law, which prohibits legislators from seeking or accepting a judgeship until they have been out of office for one year.

R.I. Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Cienki commented: “A generation ago, after various scandals involving judges who went directly from the legislature to the bench, Rhode Island created the JNC and a judicial merit selection process. The JNC needs to do its job here, and keep state house politics out of the selection of judges. The JNC should not recommend Senator Lynch Prata to the Supreme Court. While other individuals seeking this appointment to our highest court have judicial experience and/or stellar credentials, we all know that Senator Lynch Prata’s primary qualification for the job is simply her statehouse political connections. Recommending Lynch Prata would show that the JNC is influenced more by politics, than merits, in selecting judges.”

Cienki continued: “Not only would the JNC’s recommendation of Senator Lynch Prata undermine the credibility of the judicial merit selection process, it would make the JNC an accessory to unethical behavior. The revolving door ban was created to prevent legislators from being able to use the power of their office to get themselves a judgeship. Recommending Lynch Prata would show that the JNC just doesn’t care about ethics when it comes to selecting judges.” 
R.I. Republican National Committeeman Steven Frias added: “Rhode Island cannot move forward by going backwards on ethics.”’ 

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