We, the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution of government.
OF THE JUDICIAL POWER
The judicial power of this state shall be vested in one supreme court,
and in such inferior courts as the general assembly may, from time to time, ordain and establish.
The supreme court shall have final revisory and appellate jurisdiction upon all questions of law and equity. It shall have power to issue prerogative writs, and shall also have such other jurisdiction as may, from time to time, be prescribed by law. A majority of its judges shall always be necessary to constitute a quorum. The inferior courts shall have such jurisdiction as may, from time to time, be prescribed by law.
The judges of the supreme court shall give their written opinion upon any question of law whenever requested by the governor or by either house of the general assembly.
The governor shall fill any vacancy of any justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court by nominating, on the basis of merit, a person from a list submitted by an independent non-partisan judicial nominating commission, and by and with the advice and consent of the senate, and by and with the separate advice and consent of the house of representatives, shall appoint said person as a justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. The governor shall fill any vacancy of any judge of the Rhode Island Superior Court, Family Court, District, Workers Compensation Court, Administrative Adjudication Court, or any other state court which the general assembly may from time to time establish by nominating on the basis of merit, a person from a list submitted by the aforesaid judicial nominating commission, and by and with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint said person to the court where the vacancy occurs. The powers, duties, and composition of the judicial nominating commission shall be defined by statute.
Justices of the supreme court shall hold office during good behavior.
The judges of the supreme court shall receive a compensation for their services, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
The towns of New Shoreham and Jamestown may continue to elect their wardens as heretofore. The other towns and the city of Providence may elect such number of justices of the peace, resident therein, as they may deem proper. The jurisdiction of said justices and wardens shall be regulated by law. The justices shall be commissioned by the governor.