CITIZENS FOR BETTER JUDGES
1. The purpose of the Citizens for Better Judges (“CBJ”) shall be set forth in the document entitled “Statement of Purpose” dated January 6, 1983, as amended by a two-thirds vote of all members of CBJ on September 28, 1995, and appended to these By-Laws, and as from time to time amended by the Steering Committee. CBJ is registered as a Permanent Committee with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, and shall comply with all statutes, rules and regulations pertaining to the operation and activities of registered Permanent Committee. CBJ is independent from, and shall conduct itself at all times in a manner independent from, all judicial candidates, including any judicial candidates who might be endorsed by it. CBJ will not be swayed, nor influenced, nor in any manner controlled or directed by any judicial candidates, including any judicial candidates endorsed by it. The interview of candidates by CBJ, and informing the candidates of CBJ’s endorsement decisions, shall not constitute a communication with the campaign of any judicial candidate within the meaning of KRS 121.150(1). CBJ shall not in any way communicate with any judicial candidate regarding its decisions on its independent expenditures. It is the intent and purpose of CBJ in its expenditures at all times to have those expenditures constitute “independent expenditures” as contemplated by KRS 121.150 and by applicable case law.
2. The business and affairs of CBJ shall be conducted by a Steering Committee which shall consist of thirty (30) practicing attorneys who have agreed to abide by these By-Laws.
3. Except as otherwise specified in these By-Laws, all motions, resolutions, or actions adopted or taken by the Steering Committee shall be by majority vote of those members present and voting at a meeting of the Steering Committee at which a quorum is present.
4. A quorum at any meeting of the Steering Committee shall be eleven (11). 5. Meetings of the Steering Committee shall be at the call of the Chair, or at the call in writing of one-third (1/3) of the number of members then serving on the Steering Committee. Prior notice of all meetings of the Steering Committee shall be given at such time and by such means as shall be reasonable under the circumstances. Regular meetings of the Steering Committee set by resolution of the Steering Committee may be held without specific notice. If a vote of the Steering Committee is required and exceptional circumstances make it impractical to convene a meeting of the Steering Committee, then upon agreement of a majority of the members of the Executive Committee (Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary/Treasurer), a vote of the Steering Committee may be conducted by facsimile ballots sent to all members then serving on the Steering Committee.
6. The thirty (30) members of the Steering Committee shall be divided by lot into three (3) classes of ten (10) members each. Members of the first, second and third classes shall serve for periods of one (1) year, two (2) years, and three (3) years,
respectively, or until their successors shall be duly elected and qualified. As the terms of the respective classes expire, their successors shall be selected by two-thirds vote of the remaining members whose terms have not expired present and voting at a special meeting called for that purpose.
7. A member of the Steering Committee who has served a full three-year term shall not be eligible for re-election to the Steering Committee until he/she has been off the Steering Committee for a period of at least one calendar year; provided, however, that officers may continue to serve on the Steering Committee beyond their third year.
8. A member of Citizens for Better Judges may resign at any time. However, if such resignation occurs after the commencement of candidate interviews in an election year, the resignation will be deemed permanent and the member shall not be eligible to serve on Citizens for Better Judges in any capacity in the future unless the resignation is prompted by documented, extraordinary circumstances beyond the member’s control.
A member may be removed for good cause by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the committee members then serving on the Steering Committee.
If a member of the Advisory Board, Attorney Steering Committee, or Citizens Review Board desires a leave of absence for a period of one year only, he or she may so request in writing. Such written request shall be submitted to the Chair of the Advisory Board sufficiently in advance of the commencement of interviews to allow a reasonable time for the Advisory Board to either convene or take a poll in order to act on the request.
If the request is granted, the requesting member will in no way be a part of, or participate in, Citizens for Better Judges for that year, nor will his or her name be published or in any way connected with Citizens for Better Judges or its endorsements.
If the requesting member is a member of the Attorney Steering Committee, the year will count as part of his or her three-year term. The Steering Committee may, by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members then serving, fill the vacancy (ies) for the one-year leave of absence. If the requesting member is a member of the Advisory Board or the Citizens Review Board, he or she may be reinstated at the end of one year and shall be reinstated unless the Advisory Board finds good cause not to do so.
Further, if any member of the Advisory Board, the Attorney Steering Committee or the Citizens Review Board, at any time after the interview process has commenced, requests that his or her name be removed from or not included in the publication of any CBJ endorsement, the Advisory Board may grant that request. However, if such request is granted, that member shall be immediately removed from Citizens for Better Judges and will not be eligible to serve on Citizens for Better Judges in any capacity in the future.
9. The Steering Committee shall at all times be representative of a cross-section of the litigation Bar.
10. CBJ members may publicly endorse and support only those judicial candidates who have received CBJ’s current endorsement in judicial election contests in which CBJ conducts interviews and endorses a candidate or candidates, or declines to make an endorsement. However, other than through CBJ, such public endorsement or
support may not include financial contributions to, or service on, a campaign committee or other organization associated with a candidate for judicial office. 11. Any member of the Advisory Board, the Attorney Steering Committee, or the Citizens Review Board who has a current or recently past (within the last twelve months) office association with any candidate is to disclose same prior to the commencement of interviews in the race in which the member’s current or recently past associate is involved. This specifically includes office associations in both the public and private sectors. Additionally, any member having any personal or professional relationship or connection, other than an office association, with any candidate shall disclose same if the nature of that relationship or connection is such that it might appear improper for the member to participate in the interview and/or endorsement process with regard to that candidate’s race.
Upon disclosure of or finding by the Attorney Steering Committee of an association, relationship, or connection as described above, the member shall be precluded from attending any interviews and the endorsement meeting for that particular race. However, that member may fully participate in the process with regard to all other races.
Any member precluded from interviews and the endorsement meeting in any race or races hereby, may make a brief statement concerning the qualifications of the candidates in each such race prior to leaving the room at the endorsement meeting. The Attorney Steering Committee may request that the absent member return to the room during the endorsement procedure in that particular race, but only to answer
specific questions that the Attorney Steering Committee may wish to ask that member about the candidates’ qualifications as they relate to the criteria for endorsement. 12. CBJ shall not accept contributions from or on behalf of any person who is a candidate in a judicial election in which CBJ has decided to select a candidate or candidates for support or endorsement.
13. CBJ shall not publish or use the name of any member in any advertisement, promotional material, or endorsement without the prior written approval of the member.
14. The Steering Committee may by resolution establish such other committees as it deems necessary or desirable and provide for the membership, powers, or duties of any such committee. All committees shall be filled by appointment of the Chair.
15. No member of or committee of CBJ shall take any action in the name of CBJ except as authorized by the Steering Committee.
16. The officers of the Steering Committee shall be a Chair, a Vice Chair, and a Secretary-Treasurer who shall be elected by the Steering Committee for such terms as the Steering Committee shall provide. The Steering Committee may establish other offices as it deems necessary and provide for the manner of election and terms thereof.
17. Expenditures of all CBJ funds shall be authorized by the Steering Committee by specific items, general budget, or other means specified by resolution of the Steering Committee.
18. The Steering Committee shall establish a Citizens Review Board. The Citizens Review Board shall be composed of those citizens and community leaders who
are representative of the civilian and business population of Jefferson County. The members of the Citizens Review Board shall be non-voting members of the Steering Committee. Meetings of the Citizens Review Board shall be called by the Chair of the Steering Committee or the Chair of that Citizens Review Board.
19. An Advisory Board to the CBJ organization shall be established by the Steering Committee and shall consist of all past chairpersons of the Steering Committee, the current Chair of the Citizens Review Board and three (3) at-large members to be elected by the Steering Committee each year. The immediate past Chair of the Attorneys Steering Committee shall serve as Chair of the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board shall act in an oversight capacity to lend continuity to the organization in preparing for judicial vacancies and in facilitating the annual transition of members and officers of the Steering Committee by making recommendations to the Steering Committee of new members to fill expiring terms. In addition, the Advisory Board shall function as a long-range planning committee to develop the future direction and goals of the organization. Meetings of the Advisory Board shall be at the call of the Steering Committee Chair, or at the call in writing of one-third (1/3) of the number of members then serving on the Advisory Board.
20. A Citizens and Lawyers Support Group shall be established by the Steering Committee to expand and advance the purpose of the Citizens for Better Judges organization. Any citizen or lawyer who supports the mission and goals enunciated in CBJ’s “Statement of Purpose” (appended to these By-Laws) shall be eligible for inclusion in the Citizens and Lawyers Support Group upon meeting the following conditions: (a) Payment of an annual contribution to CBJ in an amount ranging from a minimum of $100 up to a maximum of $250; and (b) execution of a signed agreement and pledge to abide by CBJ’s By-Laws in all respects, including the withholding of any form of support for local judicial candidates until CBJ completes its endorsement process, at which time Support Group members shall support only those candidates endorsed by CBJ. It is expressly understood that, while Support Group members back, believe in and approve of the CBJ interview and endorsement process, they will not be allowed to attend interviews or endorsement sessions, and their names will not be listed in CBJ endorsement advertisements or on CBJ’s Web site, unless, in the latter case, the Steering Committee so chooses. Further, they shall comply with the CBJ Policy Resolution concerning third party communications regarding judicial candidates. Finally, neither judicial candidates nor anyone having a current business of familial relationship with a judicial candidate shall be eligible to join the Citizens and Lawyers Support Group.
21. Judicial candidates shall be selected for CBJ endorsement or support in accordance with the procedure established by the Steering Committee that is set forth in the document entitled “Endorsement Procedure”; provided that any candidate shall be endorsed by CBJ only upon the vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the Steering Committee members present and voting at a meeting called for that specific purpose; further provided, that no candidate shall be endorsed by CBJ who has not received the affirmative votes of at least eleven (11) members. Successive ballots may be taken as to endorsement of a candidate, at a single or successive meetings, until the Steering
Committee reaches an endorsement by three-fourths (3/4) vote, or by vote of two thirds (2/3) of the members present and voting declares that no endorsement will be made in a particular contest. The endorsements of the Steering Committee shall be submitted to the Citizens Review Board for approval. Successive ballots may be taken by the Citizens Review Board for approval of any submitted endorsement. In the event that the Citizens Review Board shall fail to approve an endorsement, the Steering Committee may, by the procedure set forth above, submit the same or another endorsement to the Citizens Review Board for its approval; provided, however, that the Steering Committee may not submit to the Citizens Review Board an endorsement of a candidate whom the Citizens Review Board has declined to approve on three occasions. Upon approval by a majority of the members of the Citizens Review Board present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose, the submitted endorsements shall become the official endorsements of CBJ.
22. All proceedings relating to the interview and endorsement of judicial candidates by CBJ shall be conducted in complete confidence in order to promote candor in the process and ensure full and fair consideration and assessment of the candidates’ qualifications for office. A commitment to such confidentiality is pledged by each member of the organization and, in turn, to each of the candidates seeking CBJ’s endorsement. After notice and an opportunity to be heard, any member of the Advisory Board, the Attorney Steering Committee, or the Citizens Review Board shall be removed immediately from Citizens for Better Judges upon a majority vote of a duly convened meeting of the Advisory Board finding probable cause that the member
breached the confidentiality of any communications made during, or in connection with, either the interview or endorsement process of Citizens for Better Judges. Any member removed under such circumstances shall not be eligible, in the future, to serve on Citizens for Better Judges in any capacity.
23. Except in extraordinary circumstances, any judicial candidate endorsed or supported by CBJ in a judicial primary election shall also be so endorsed or supported in the ensuing general election, provided that the candidate qualifies for candidacy in the general election.
24. Any action required to be taken at a meeting of CBJ, by the Steering Committee or any authorized Committee thereof, may be taken upon the prior written consent of all those persons entitled to vote on the action. NO proxies shall be permitted at any meeting.
25. CBJ may be dissolved by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members then serving at a meeting called for that specific purpose. Upon the resignation or withdrawal of two-thirds (2/3) of the members then serving, CBJ shall be deemed dissolved. Upon dissolution, after payment of all debts and obligations, any funds remaining shall be distributed in accordance with CBJ’s “Statement of Purpose”.
26. These By-Laws are binding upon each member as to the organization and management of CBJ. The Steering Committee may provide for the enactment of rules, regulations or procedures implementing these By-Laws and the appended Statement of Purpose. These By-Laws and the appended Statement of Purpose and Endorsement
Procedure may be amended by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members then serving at a meeting called for that specific purpose.
* * * * *
Dated this 6th day of January, 1983, as amended April 6, 1985; April 12, 1986; March 24, 1990; September 28, 1995; February 20, 1998; February 28, 2002; March 16, 2005; and March 3, 2006.