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Judicial Selection and Administration

How judges are selected and how the judiciary operates can impact the role and effectiveness of state courts. Processes for judicial selection 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.

Judicial administration refers to the management of the court system, including judicial ethics, security systems, and access to court documents.

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A project of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law