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State supreme courts

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Judgepedia's Supreme Weekly: The States

Each of the United States and the District of Columbia has at least one supreme court, or court of last resort. Oklahoma and Texas both have two courts of last resort, one for civil appeals and one for criminal appeals.

The supreme courts do not hear trials of cases, rather they hear appeals of the decisions made in the lower trial or appellate courts.



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Court Number of justices Method of selection Term length
Alabama Supreme Court 9 Partisan elections 6 years
Alaska Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
10 years
Arizona Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
6 years
Arkansas Supreme Court 7 Non-partisan election 8 years
California Supreme Court 7 Governor appoints 12 years
Colorado Supreme Court 7 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
10 years
Connecticut Supreme Court 7 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
8 years
Delaware Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
12 years
Florida Supreme Court 7 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
6 years
Georgia Supreme Court 7 Non-partisan election 6 years
Hawaii Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
10 years
Idaho Supreme Court 5 Non-partisan election 6 years
Illinois Supreme Court 7 Partisan election 10 years
Indiana Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
10 years
Iowa Supreme Court 7 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
8 years
Kansas Supreme Court 7 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
6 years
Kentucky Supreme Court 7 Non-partisan election 8 years
Louisiana Supreme Court 7 Partisan election 10 years
Maine Supreme Judicial Court 7 Governor appoints 7 years
Maryland Court of Appeals 7 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
10 years
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 7 Governor appoints Until 70 years of age
Michigan Supreme Court 7 Non-partisan election 8 years
Minnesota Supreme Court 7 Non-partisan election 6 years
Mississippi Supreme Court 9 Non-partisan election 8 years
Missouri Supreme Court 7 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
12 years
Montana Supreme Court 7 Non-partisan election 8 years
Nebraska Supreme Court 7 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
6 years
Nevada Supreme Court 7 Non-partisan election 6 years
New Hampshire Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
Until retirement or the age of 70
New Jersey Supreme Court 7 Governor appoints 7 years; until age 70
New Mexico Supreme Court 5 Partisan election 8 years
State of New York Court of Appeals 7 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
14 years
Supreme Court of North Carolina 7 Non-partisan election 8 years
North Dakota Supreme Court 5 Non-partisan election 10 years
Ohio Supreme Court 7 Non-partisan election 6 years
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
6 years
Oklahoma Supreme Court 9 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
Initial term 1 year; if retained, 6 years
Oregon Supreme Court 7 Non-partisan election 6 years
Pennsylvania Supreme Court 7 Partisan election 10 years
Rhode Island Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
Life terms; no mandated retirement
South Carolina Supreme Court 5 Legislative election of judges 10 years
South Dakota Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
8 years
Tennessee Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
8 years
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals 9 Partisan election 6 years
Texas Supreme Court 9 Partisan election 6 years
Utah Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
10 years
Vermont Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
6 years
Supreme Court of Virginia 7 Legislative election of judges 12 years
Washington State Supreme Court 9 Non-partisan election 6 years
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia 5 Partisan election 12 years
Wisconsin Supreme Court 7 Non-partisan election 10 years
Wyoming Supreme Court 5 Governor appoints
through
nominating commission
8 years

Current chief justices of the state courts of last resort:

Name Court
Barbara Madsen Washington State Supreme Court
Bernette Johnson Louisiana Supreme Court
Brent Dickson Indiana Supreme Court
Chase Rogers Connecticut Supreme Court
Cynthia Kinser Supreme Court of Virginia
Dana Fabe Alaska Supreme Court
David Gilbertson South Dakota Supreme Court
Gerald VandeWalle North Dakota Supreme Court
Hugh Thompson Georgia Supreme Court
Jean Hoefer Toal South Carolina Supreme Court
Jim Hannah Arkansas Supreme Court
John D. Minton, Jr. Kentucky Supreme Court
Lawton Nuss Kansas Supreme Court
Leigh Ingalls Saufley Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Linda Dalianis New Hampshire Supreme Court
Lorie Gildea Minnesota Supreme Court
Marilyn Kite Wyoming Supreme Court
Mark Cady Iowa Supreme Court
Mark Gibbons Nevada Supreme Court
Mark Martin North Carolina Supreme Court
Mary Ellen Barbera Maryland Court of Appeals
Mary Rhodes Russell Missouri Supreme Court
Matthew Durrant Utah Supreme Court
Maureen O'Connor Ohio Supreme Court
Michael Bender Colorado Supreme Court
Michael Heavican Nebraska Supreme Court
Mike McGrath Montana Supreme Court
Myron Steele Delaware Supreme Court
Paul Reiber Vermont Supreme Court
Paul Suttell Rhode Island Supreme Court
Petra Jimenez Maes New Mexico Supreme Court
Ralph D. Gants Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
Robert M. Bell Maryland Court of Appeals
Roger Burdick Idaho Supreme Court
Ronald Castille Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Roy Moore Alabama Supreme Court
Sarah Parker North Carolina Supreme Court
Scott Bales Arizona Supreme Court
Sharon Lee Tennessee Supreme Court
Shirley Abrahamson Wisconsin Supreme Court
Stuart Rabner New Jersey Supreme Court
Thomas Balmer Oregon Supreme Court
Tom Colbert Oklahoma Supreme Court
William Waller Mississippi Supreme Court

See also: Female chief justices of state supreme courts

There are 52 state supreme courts, or courts of last resort, in the United States (Texas and Oklahoma each have 2 such courts). Methods of judicial selection vary from state to state. Seven states choose their supreme court justices in partisan elections. Additionally, in three more states--Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio--though elections are non-partisan, the political affiliations of the supreme court candidates are well-known. Below, you can find the current political composition of each of the partisan state supreme courts.

Court Number of Justices Term Democrats Button-Blue.svg Republicans Reddot.png
Alabama Supreme Court 9 6 years 0 9
Illinois Supreme Court 7 10 years 4 3
Louisiana Supreme Court 7 10 years 3 4
Michigan Supreme Court 7 8 years 2 5
New Mexico Supreme Court 5 8 years 5 0
North Carolina Supreme Court 7 8 years 3 4
Ohio Supreme Court 7 6 years 1 6
Pennsylvania Supreme Court 7 10 years 3 4
Texas Supreme Court 9 6 years 0 9
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals 9 6 years 0 9
West Virginia Supreme Court 5 12 years 3 2

Term lengths

WashingtonOregonCaliforniaAlaskaIdahoNevadaMontanaWyomingUtahArizonaColoradoNew MexicoNorth DakotaSouth DakotaNebraskaKansasOklahomaTexasMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaWisconsinIllinoisMississippiMichiganMichiganIndianaOhioKentuckyTennesseeAlabamaNew YorkPennsylvaniaWest VirginiaVirginiaNorth CarolinaGeorgiaSouth CarolinaFloridaMaineVermontD.C.Rhode IslandVermontNew HampshireNew HampshireMassachusettsMassachusettsNew JerseyNew JerseyConnecticutDelawareMarylandHawaiiSupreme court term length map.png

Number of justices

WashingtonOregonCaliforniaAlaskaIdahoNevadaMontanaWyomingUtahArizonaColoradoNew MexicoNorth DakotaSouth DakotaNebraskaKansasOklahomaTexasMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaWisconsinIllinoisMississippiMichiganMichiganIndianaOhioKentuckyTennesseeAlabamaNew YorkPennsylvaniaWest VirginiaVirginiaNorth CarolinaGeorgiaSouth CarolinaFloridaMaineVermontD.C.Rhode IslandVermontNew HampshireNew HampshireMassachusettsMassachusettsNew JerseyNew JerseyConnecticutDelawareMarylandHawaiiOklahoma Court of Criminal AppealsNumber of judges map.png

Method of 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

See also

References