Policy for Endorsement of Candidates for Nonpartisan Judicial, Board, Commission or Similar Roles
The Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan (HBAM) supports the appointment or nonpartisan election of highly qualified individuals to judgeships, boards, commissions, and similar public roles. HBAM is particularly interested in supporting Hispanic candidates and others who have demonstrated a sincere commitment toward ensuring access to justice and greater opportunity for Michigan’s Hispanic community.
- Purpose. As a 501(c)(6) organization, HBAM may engage in political activities germane to its exempt purpose without jeopardizing its exemption. However, HBAM may not use member dues to engage in such activities without notice to its members. HBAM does not endorse or support candidates in partisan elections for public office, but may endorse candidates in nonpartisan judicial elections. HBAM may likewise support candidates for appointed public office, including judgeships, boards, commissions, or similar roles.
- Judicial Qualifications Committee. Article III, Section 1 of the HBAM Bylaws provides for the establishment of a Judicial Qualification Committee (“Committee”) as an Ad Hoc Committee with authority designated by the Board of Directors (“Board”). The Committee shall consist of five members of HBAM selected by the President at the first meeting of each calendar year including at least one officer and one member of the Board of Directors. The President shall appoint, re-appoint, and reconvene the Committee as needed, including its chairperson.
- Seeking Endorsement. A candidate seeking HBAM’s endorsement should submit a Request for Endorsement and supporting materials to HBAM as early as possible, along with notice of when the endorsement is needed.
- Candidate Review. Upon receipt by HBAM, the Request for Endorsement and
related materials will be provided to the Committee Chairperson for distribution to the entire Committee. For each candidate, the Committee shall review the materials, conduct an appropriate investigation into the candidate’s qualifications including disciplinary history, contact references, and conduct a personal interview of the candidate including at least two Committee members. The Committee may forego any component of the candidate review process with the President’s approval and unanimous consent of the committee.
- Deliberation and Considerations. The Committee shall meet privately to discuss the merits of a candidate seeking endorsement and decide whether to recommend that HBAM endorse the candidate, based on a majority vote of theCommittee. The Committee will not rate candidates according to endorsement levels, and shall only recommend the endorsement of highly qualified candidates after careful consideration of the following factors:
- Professional qualifications, including relevant experience, leadership, reputation, and a proven commitment to improving the profession;
- Personal traits, including communication abilities (oral and written), intellectual abilities, organizational abilities, and temperament;
- Community engagement and public service, including professional and nonprofessional activities;
- Demonstrated commitment toward ensuring access to justice and greater opportunity for Michigan’s Hispanic community.
- Demonstrated commitment toward equal opportunity for marginalized populations, equal justice under the law, and equal rights for all individuals.
- Recommendation. The Committee Chairperson shall summarize the Committee’s recommendation in a report to the Board of Directors. If a member of the Committee disagrees with the recommendation, that member may submit a statement to the Board explaining the basis for disagreement.
- Board Decision. The Board of Directors may endorse a candidate by majority vote of a quorum. If the Board votes to endorse a candidate, that decision shall be communicated in the form of an open letter and/or a letter to the appointing authority, signed by the President or a designee.
- Conflicts and Recusals. Any member of the Committee or Board of Directors who has a strong personal interest in a candidate shall not vote on the recommendation or endorsement. Upon disclosure of the personal interest to the Committee and/or Board, the member may participate in deliberations, but may not vote.
- Confidentiality. All materials and deliberations shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to anyone outside the Committee or Board of Directors.
- Nondiscrimination. HBAM will not discriminate against any candidate seeking endorsement because of race, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, or marital status.
Approved and Adopted by the HBAM Board of Directors on January 14, 2023
For information about submitting a request for endorsement, please click below.