The Court System

State Courts

How are state court judges picked?

In most states, the bulk of judges are elected. Nearly 40 states hold judicial elections for certain judges. In many states, trial judges are selected or elected differently than appellate court judges. Some states like Utah fill most of their judges through a merit selection process. In other states, such as Alabama and Washington, hold elections for all types of judges.

For more information on how state judges are selected, visit the American Judicature’s site at


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