Judicial selection methods in California vary depending on the level of court. Supreme and Appellate Court candidates are chosen by a nominating commission and, from those candidates, the Governor makes the final appointment. Appellate judges must then stand for retention in the next gubernatorial election.
Trial court judges are elected in non-partisan elections. If a candidate is unopposed in the primary, they are automatically elected without appearing on the ballot. In races involving two or more candidates, the one who receives the majority of the votes in the primary wins. If no candidate receives a majority of votes, the top two candidates compete in the general election.
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