Court columns

Judicial Selection

How judges are selected can impact who sits on state courts and how they approach their role. Processes may vary depending on both the level of court (trial, intermediate appellate, high court) and the type of vacancy being filled (interim vacancies or vacancies that open at the end of a judge’s term). The most common methods of state judicial selection are merit selection, which involves vetting of candidates by a nominating commission coupled with a retention election, nonpartisan elections, partisan elections, gubernatorial appointment, and legislative appointment. For a breakdown of each state’s judicial selection process, see this interactive map.

Sole footer logo

A project of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law