Judicial selection in the states

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Methods of judicial selection
Judicialselectionlogo.jpg
Commission selection, political appointment (Missouri Plan)
Gubernatorial appointment
Legislative election
Partisan elections
Non-partisan elections
Retention election
Tennessee Plan
Judicial selection in the states


Methods of judicial selection vary substantially across the country.[1] Also, each state has different levels of courts, and the names of these levels can differ from state to state.[1] In order to provide a quick reference to its methods of judicial selection, each state has its own table on this page.

There are five main methods: Partisan election of judges, Non-partisan election of judges, Legislative election of judges, Gubernatorial appointment of judges and Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection

WashingtonOregonCaliforniaAlaskaIdahoNevadaMontanaWyomingUtahArizonaColoradoNew MexicoNorth DakotaSouth DakotaNebraskaKansasOklahomaTexasMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaWisconsinIllinoisMississippiMichiganMichiganIndianaOhioKentuckyTennesseeAlabamaNew YorkPennsylvaniaWest VirginiaVirginiaNorth CarolinaGeorgiaSouth CarolinaFloridaMaineVermontD.C.Rhode IslandVermontNew HampshireNew HampshireMassachusettsMassachusettsNew JerseyNew JerseyConnecticutDelawareMarylandHawaiiPartisan election of judgesNon-partisan election of judgesAppointed by governorAppointed by commissionLegislative election of judgesAppointed by US PresidentSupreme court selection map.png
Appellate court selection in the United States

Method definitions

Below is a brief description of each method of judicial selection:[2]

  • Partisan election of judges: A partisan election is one in which the candidates are listed on the ballot along with a label designating the political party with which they are affiliated.
  • Non-partisan election of judges: A non-partisan election is one in which the candidates are listed on the ballot with no label designating any party affiliation.
  • Legislative election of judges: A legislative election is one in which the candidates are voted upon by the state's legislature.
  • Gubernatorial appointment of judges: In a gubernatorial appointment, the governor may be able to either choose a judge for an initial term, select a judge to fill an interim or midterm vacancy or retain a judge to serve an additional term. In some cases, another political entity may have to approve the governor's choice.
  • Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection: In the commission-selection method, a nominating commission reviews the resumes of candidates and sends a list of approved candidates to the governor, from which he or she will select one candidate.

Method totals

This table shows the number of courts that use the various methods across the United States.

Method Supreme Court (of 52) Courts of Appeal (of 40) Trial Courts (of 130)
Partisan elections (PE) 8 6 45
Non-partisan elections (NPE) 14 12 39
Legislative elections (LE) 2 2 5
Gubernatorial appointment of judges (GAJ) 4 3 8
Commission-selection, political appointment (CS) 22 17 33

Methods by state

Key
PE Partisan election of judges
NPE Non-partisan election of judges
LE Legislative election of judges
GAJ Gubernatorial appointment of judges
CS Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection

Alabama

State Supreme Court Courts of Appeal Circuit Court District Court
Flag of Alabama.svg Alabama PE PE PE PE

Alaska

State Supreme Court Courts of Appeal Superior Court District Court
Flag of Alaska.svg Alaska CS CS CS CS

Arizona

State Supreme Court Courts of Appeal Superior Court Justices of the Peace
Flag of Arizona.svg Arizona CS CS CS or NPE PE

Arkansas

State Supreme Court Courts of Appeal Circuit Court District Court
Flag of Arkansas.svg Arkansas NPE NPE NPE NPE

California

State Supreme Court Courts of Appeal Superior Court
Flag of California.svg California GAJ GAJ NPE

Colorado

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court County Courts
Flag of Colorado.svg Colorado CS CS CS CS

Connecticut

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Superior Court Probate Court
Flag of Connecticut.svg Connecticut CS CS CS PE

Delaware

State Supreme Court Superior Court Court of Chancery Family Court Court of Common Pleas
Flag of Delaware.svg Delaware CS CS CS CS

CS

Florida

State Supreme Court District Courts of Appeal Circuit Court County Courts
Flag of Florida.svg Florida CS CS NPE NPE

Georgia

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Superior Court Probate Court State Court
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Georgia NPE NPE NPE PE NPE

Hawaii

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Circuit Court District Court
Flag of Hawaii.svg Hawaii CS CS CS CS

Idaho

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court
Flag of Idaho.svg Idaho NPE NPE NPE

Illinois

State Supreme Court Appellate Court Circuit Court
Flag of Illinois.svg Illinois PE PE PE

Indiana

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Circuit Court Superior Court Tax Court Probate Court County Court City Court Town Court Small Claims Court
Flag of Indiana.svg Indiana CS CS PE or NPE CS or PE CS PE PE PE PE PE

Iowa

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court
Flag of Iowa.svg Iowa CS CS CS

Kansas

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court
Flag of Kansas.svg Kansas CS CS PE or CS

Kentucky

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Circuit Court District Court
Flag of Kentucky.svg Kentucky NPE NPE NPE NPE

Louisiana

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court Family Courts Juvenile Courts Parish Courts
Flag of Louisiana.svg Louisiana PE PE PE PE PE PE

Maine

State Supreme Court Superior Court District Court Probate Courts
Flag of Maine.svg Maine GAJ GAJ GAJ PE

Maryland

State Court of Appeals Court of Special Appeals Circuit Court District Court Orphans' Courts
Flag of Maryland.svg Maryland CS CS CS or NPE CS PE

Massachusetts

State Supreme Judicial Court Appeals Court Superior Court District Court Probate Court Juvenile Court
Flag of Massachusetts-cropped.png Massachusetts GAJ GAJ GAJ GAJ GAJ GAJ

Michigan

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Circuit Court District Court Probate Court
Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan NPE NPE NPE NPE NPE

Minnesota

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court
Flag of Minnesota.svg Minnesota NPE NPE NPE

Mississippi

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Circuit Court Chancery Court County Court Justice Court
Flag of Mississippi.svg Mississippi NPE NPE NPE NPE NPE NPE

Missouri

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Circuit Court
Flag of Missouri.svg Missouri CS CS PE or CS

Montana

State Supreme Court District Court Workers' Compensation Court City Court Justice of the Peace
Flag of Montana.svg Montana NPE NPE CS NPE NPE

Nebraska

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court County Court Juvenile Court Workers' Compensation Court
Flag of Nebraska.svg Nebraska CS CS CS CS CS

CS

Nevada

State Supreme Court District Court Municipal Courts Justice Courts
Flag of Nevada.svg Nevada NPE NPE NPE NPE

New Hampshire

State Supreme Court Superior Court District Court Probate Court
Flag of New Hampshire.svg New Hampshire CS CS CS CS

New Jersey

State Supreme Court Appellate Division of the Superior Court Superior Court Tax Court
Flag of New Jersey.svg New Jersey GAJ GAJ GAJ GAJ

New Mexico

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court Magistrate Probate Court
Flag of New Mexico.svg New Mexico PE PE PE PE PE

New York

State Court of Appeals Supreme Court, Appellate Division Supreme Court Court of Claims Family Court Surrogate's Court Civil Court District Court Town Court
Flag of New York.svg New York CS CS PE PE CS PE PE PE PE

North Carolina

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Superior Court District Court
Flag of North Carolina.svg North Carolina NPE NPE NPE NPE

North Dakota

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court
Flag of North Dakota.svg North Dakota NPE See: Judicial selection in North Dakota NPE

Ohio

State Supreme Court Courts of Appeal Courts of Common Pleas County Courts
Flag of Ohio.svg Ohio NPE NPE NPE NPE

Oklahoma

State Supreme Court/Court of Criminal Appeals Court of Civil Appeals District Court
Flag of Oklahoma.svg Oklahoma CS CS NPE

Oregon

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Circuit Court Tax Court County Court Justice Court
Flag of Oregon.svg Oregon NPE NPE NPE NPE NPE NPE

Pennsylvania

State Supreme Court Superior Court Commonwealth Court Courts of Common Pleas
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pennsylvania PE PE PE PE

Rhode Island

State Supreme Court Superior Court Family Court District Court
Flag of Rhode Island.svg Rhode Island CS CS CS CS

South Carolina

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Circuit Court Family Courts Magistrate Courts Probate Courts
Flag of South Carolina.svg South Carolina LE LE LE LE LE PE

South Dakota

State Supreme Court Circuit Court
Flag of South Dakota.svg South Dakota CS NPE

Tennessee

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Court of Criminal Appeals Chancery Court Criminal Court Circuit Court Probate Court General Sessions Court
Flag of Tennessee.svg Tennessee CS CS CS PE PE PE PE PE

Texas

State Supreme Court/Court of Criminal Appeals Courts of Appeal District Court County Courts Justices of the Peace
Flag of Texas.svg Texas PE PE PE PE PE

Utah

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court Juvenile Court
Flag of Utah.svg Utah CS CS CS CS

Vermont

State Supreme Court Superior Court District Court Probate Court
Vermontflag.png Vermont CS CS CS PE

Virginia

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Circuit Court General District Court
Flag of Virginia.svg Virginia LE LE LE LE

Washington

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Superior Court District Court
Flag of Washington.svg Washington NPE NPE NPE NPE

West Virginia

State Supreme Court of Appeals Circuit Court Family Court Magistrate
Flag of West Virginia.svg West Virginia PE PE PE PE

Wisconsin

State Supreme Court Court of Appeals Circuit Court
Flag of Wisconsin.svg Wisconsin NPE NPE NPE

Wyoming

State Supreme Court District Court Circuit Court
Flag of Wyoming.svg Wyoming CS CS CS

See also

References