Table 5.6

Selection and Retention of Appellate Court Judges

  Method of selection  
FIPS State or other
Name of court Type of court Unexpired term Full term Method
basis for
01AlabamaSupreme CourtSCGUPEPESW
01AlabamaCourt of Civil AppealsIAGUPEPESW
01AlabamaCourt of Criminal AppealsIAGUPEPESW
02AlaskaSupreme CourtSCGNGNRE (a)SW
02AlaskaCourt of AppealsIAGNGNRE (a)SW
04ArizonaSupreme CourtSCGNGNRESW
04ArizonaCourt of AppealsIAGNGNREDS
05ArkansasSupreme CourtSCGUNPNPSW
05ArkansasCourt of AppealsIAGUNPNPDS
06CaliforniaSupreme CourtSCGUGURESW
06CaliforniaCourts of AppealIAGUGUREDS
08ColoradoSupreme CourtSCGNGNRESW
08ColoradoCourt of AppealsIAGNGNRESW
09ConnecticutSupreme CourtSCGNLGNLGNLSW
09ConnecticutAppellate CourtIAGNLGNLGNLSW
10DelawareSupreme CourtSCGNLGNLGNLSW
12FloridaSupreme CourtSCGNGNREDS and SW (b)
12FloridaDistrict Courts of AppealIAGNGNREDS
13GeorgiaSupreme CourtSCGNNPNPSW
13GeorgiaCourt of AppealsIAGNNPNPSW
15HawaiiSupreme CourtSCGNLGNLJNSW
15HawaiiIntermediate Court of AppealsIAGNLGNLJNSW
16IdahoSupreme CourtSCGNNPNPSW
16IdahoCourt of AppealsIAGNNPNPSW
17IllinoisSupreme CourtSCCSPEREDS
17IllinoisAppellate CourtIASCPEREDS
18IndianaSupreme CourtSCGNGNRESW
18IndianaCourt of AppealsIAGNGNREDS
18IndianaTax CourtIAGNGNRESW
19IowaSupreme CourtSCGNGNRESW
19IowaCourt of AppealsIAGNGNRESW
20KansasSupreme CourtSCGNGNRESW
20KansasCourt of AppealsIAGLGLRESW
21KentuckySupreme CourtSCGNNPNPDS
21KentuckyCourt of AppealsIAGNNPNPDS
22LouisianaSupreme CourtSCCS (c)PE (d)PE (d)DS
22LouisianaCourts of AppealIASC (c)PE (d)PE (d)DS
23MaineSupreme Judicial CourtSCGLGLGLSW
24MarylandCourt of AppealsSCGNLGNLREDS
24MarylandCourt of Special AppealsIAGNLGNLREDS
25MassachusettsSupreme Judicial CourtSC(e)GNE (f)(g)SW
25MassachusettsAppeals CourtIA(e)GNE (f)(g)SW
26MichiganSupreme CourtSCGUPE (h)PE (h)SW
26MichiganCourt of AppealsIAGUPE (h)PE (h)DS
27MinnesotaSupreme CourtSCGUNPNPSW
27MinnesotaCourt of AppealsIAGUNPNPSW
28MississippiSupreme CourtSCGUNPNPDS
28MississippiCourt of AppealsIAGUNPNPDS
29MissouriSupreme CourtSCGNGNRESW
29MissouriCourt of AppealsIAGNGNREDS
30MontanaSupreme CourtSCGNLNPNP (i)SW
31NebraskaSupreme CourtSCGNGNRESW and DS (j)
31NebraskaCourt of AppealsIAGNGNREDS
32NevadaSupreme CourtSCGNNPNPSW
32NevadaCourt of AppealsIAGNNPNPSW
33New HampshireSupreme CourtSCGEGE(k)SW
34New JerseySupreme CourtSCGLGLGLSW
34New JerseySuperior Court, Appellate Div.IAGLGL (l)GL (l)SW
35New MexicoSupreme CourtSCGNPERESW
35New MexicoCourt of AppealsIAGNPERESW
36New YorkCourt of AppealsSCGNLGNLGNLSW
36New YorkSupreme Ct., Appellate Div.IAGNGNGNSW (m)
37North CarolinaSupreme CourtSCGUPEPESW
37North CarolinaCourt of AppealsIAGUPEPESW
38North DakotaSupreme CourtSCGN (n)NPNPSW
38North DakotaTemporary Court of AppealsIA(o)SC (p)(o)SW
39OhioSupreme CourtSCGUPEPESW
39OhioCourts of AppealsIAGUPEPEDS
40OklahomaSupreme CourtSCGNGNREDS
40OklahomaCourt of Criminal AppealsSCGNGNREDS
40OklahomaCourt of Civil AppealsIAGNGNREDS
41OregonSupreme CourtSCGUNPNPSW
41OregonCourt of AppealsIAGUNPNPSW
42PennsylvaniaSupreme CourtSCGLPERESW
42PennsylvaniaSuperior CourtIAGLPERESW
42PennsylvaniaCommonwealth CourtIAGLPERESW
44Rhode IslandSupreme CourtSCGNGN(q)SW
45South CarolinaSupreme CourtSCLALALASW
45South CarolinaCourt of AppealsIALALALASW
46South DakotaSupreme CourtSCGNGNREDS and SW (r)
47TennesseeSupreme CourtSCGLGLRESW
47TennesseeCourt of AppealsSCGLGLRESW
47TennesseeCourt of Criminal AppealsIAGLGLRESW
48TexasSupreme CourtSCGUPEPESW
48TexasCourt of Criminal AppealsSCGUPEPESW
48TexasCourts of AppealsIAGUPEPEDS
49UtahSupreme CourtSCGNLGNLRESW
49UtahCourt of AppealsIAGNLGNLRESW
50VermontSupreme CourtSCGNLGNLLASW
51VirginiaSupreme CourtSCGU (s)LALASW
51VirginiaCourt of AppealsIAGU (s)LALASW
53WashingtonSupreme CourtSCGUNPNPSW
53WashingtonCourts of AppealsIAGUNPNPDS
54West VirginiaSupreme Court of AppealsSCGU (t)NPNPSW
55WisconsinSupreme CourtSCGUNPNPSW
55WisconsinCourt of AppealsIAGUNPNPDS
56WyomingSupreme CourtSCGNGNRESW
11District of ColumbiaCourt of AppealsSC(u)(u)(u)SW (v)
72Puerto RicoSupreme CourtSCGLGL(w)SW
72Puerto RicoCourt of AppealsIAGLGLGLSW


National Center for State Courts, July 2022.


SC ― Court of last resort
IA ― Intermediate appellate court
N/S ― Not stated
N.A. ― Not applicable
AP ― At pleasure
CS ― Court selection
DS ― District
DU ― Duration of service
GE ― Gubernatorial appointment with approval of elected executive council
GL ― Gubernatorial appointment with consent of the legislature
GN ― Gubernatorial appointment from judicial nominating commission
GNE ― Gubernatorial appointment from judicial nominating commission with approval of elected executive council
GNL ― Gubernatorial appointment from judicial nominating commission with consent of the legislature
GU ― Gubernatorial appointment
ID ― Indefinite
JN ― Judicial nominating commission appoints
LA ― Legislative appointment
NP ― Non-partisan election
PE ― Partisan election
RE ― Retention election
SC ― Court of last resort appoints
SCJ ― Chief justice/judge of the court of last resort appoints
SN ― Seniority
SW ― Statewide


(a) A judge must run for a retention election at the next election, immediately following the third year from the time of initial appointment.
(b) Five justices are selected by region (based on the District Courts of Appeal) and two justices are selected statewide.
(c) The person selected by the Supreme Court is prohibited from running for that judgeship; an election is held within one year to serve the remainder of the term.
(d) Louisiana uses a blanket primary, in which all candidates appear with party labels on the primary ballot. The two top vote getters compete in the general election.
(e) There are no expired judicial terms. A judicial term expires upon the death, resignation, retirement, or removal of an incumbent.
(f) The Executive (Governor’s) Council is made up of nine people elected by geographical area and presided over by the lieutenant governor.
(g) There is no retention process. Judges serve during good behavior to age 70.
(h) Candidates may be nominated by political parties and are elected on a nonpartisan ballot.
(i) If the justice/judge is unopposed, a retention election is held.
(j) Chief justices are selected statewide while associate justices are selected by district.
(k) There is no retention process. Judges serve during good behavior to age 70.
(l) All Superior Court judges, including Appellate Division judges, are subject to gubernatorial reappointment and consent by the Senate after an initial seven-year term. Among all the judges, the chief justice designates the judges of the Appellate Division.
(m) The presiding judge of each Appellate Division must be a resident of the department.
(n) The governor may appoint from a list of names or call a special election at his discretion.
(o) The supreme court may provide for the assignment of active or retired district court judges, retired justices of the supreme court, and lawyers, to serve on three-judge panels.
(p) There is neither a retention process nor unexpired terms. Assignments are for a specified time, not to exceed one year or the completion of one or more cases on the docket of the supreme court.
(q) There is no retention process. Judges serve during good behavior for a life tenure.
(r) Initial selection is by district, but retention selection is statewide.
(s) Gubernatorial appointment is for interim appointments.
(t) Appointment is effective only until the next election year; the appointee may run for election to any remaining portion of the unexpired term.
(u) Initial appointment is made by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. Six months prior to the expiration of the term of office, the judge’s performance is reviewed by the tenure commission. Those found “well qualified” are automatically reappointed. If a judge is found to be “qualified” the President may nominate the judge for an additional term (subject to Senate confirmation). If the President does not wish to reappoint the judge, the District of Columbia Nomination Commission compiles a new list of candidates.
(v) The geographic basis of selection is the District of Columbia.
(w) There is no retention process. Judges serve during good behavior to age 70.