William H. Rehnquist Award Nominating Process

About the award

The William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence is one of our nation’s highest judicial honors. Presented annually by the National Center for State Courts, this prestigious award honors a state court judge who demonstrates the outstanding qualities of judicial excellence, including integrity, fairness, open-mindedness, knowledge of the law, professional ethics, creativity, sound judgment, intellectual courage, and decisiveness. The William H. Rehnquist Award honors judges who are taking bold steps to address a variety of issues affecting their communities.

In the fall of each year, the judge receiving this distinguished honor is recognized during an award ceremony held at the U.S. Supreme Court. The award highlights the judge’s work to provide model programs for court systems throughout the United States. Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts Jr., will present the award during an evening dinner ceremony on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at the United States Supreme Court.

Nominating process

Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently holds a judicial office other than sitting chief justice
  • Has significant experience serving state courts
  • Demonstrates promotion and implementation of innovation in the management of state courts
  • Provides leadership at the national and/or state level to improve state systems of justice

The following information must accompany each nomination:

  • Letter setting forth up to five major accomplishments of the nominee
  • A resume for the candidate
  • Two letters of reference from individuals who have worked closely with the nominee and have direct knowledge of the major accomplishments

Download the Rehnquist Award nominations flyer here.