One of the most crucial touchpoints of our justice system is also often one of the most confusing – the process of how a judge becomes a judge.
Nomination, election, appointment, appellate court, trial courts, supreme courts – some lawyers can’t even give a straight answer on how judges within their own jurisdictions get to the bench.
So, why all the confusion?
Part of the reason is that no two states use the same method to select and retain judges. In fact, some individual states even vary the process within the level of court and county.
However, understanding the process is going to get much simpler thanks to the Quality Judges Initiative at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS).
With the 2016 election quickly approaching, this organization is on a mission to showcase more transparency in the justice system, especially when it comes to the process of selecting judges in the United States.
The organization recently released a guide that breaks down the methods of how states choose each judge. The chart is divided into three levels: courts of last resort, intermediate appellate courts, and trial courts of jurisdiction.
This resource can serve as a great guide to help both lawyers and the public navigate the often confusing process of selecting and retaining the arbiters of our justice system – our nation’s judges.