The Rhode Island Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the State of Rhode Island. The Court consists of a Chief Justice and four Justices. The Justice of the Supreme Court is appointed by the Governor of Rhode Island by selecting from a nomination list submitted by the Judicial Nominating Commission, with the advice and consent of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The judges of the Supreme Court receive compensation for their services, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
The Supreme Court has final appellate jurisdiction over questions of law and equity. It has power to issue prerogative writs. The Court has supervisory powers over other state courts, and general advisory responsibility to the legislative and the executive branches of the state government concerning the constitutionality of legislation. The judges of the Supreme Court give their written opinion upon any question of law whenever requested by the governor or by either house of the general assembly. The Supreme Court is also responsible for regulating admission to the Rhode Island Bar and disciplining its members.
A majority of the Supreme Court Judges is always necessary to constitute a quorum. The Supreme Court generally sits en banc (with all five members together) for the first full week of every month, except for the summer months, to hear oral arguments.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court also serves as the executive head of the judicial system and has authority over the judicial budget. The Chief Justice appoints a State Court Administrator and staff to handle budgetary and administrative tasks. The unified court system consists of six state-funded courts which also have their own chief judge and administrator to handle internal court management. The Administrative Office of State Courts oversees all personnel matters, fiscal concerns, and purchasing functions for the entire state court system.