Select a State:

Methods of Judicial Selection

Removal of Judges

Alabama

Alabama judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • The judicial inquiry commission investigates complaints against judges and files complaints with the court of the judiciary. The court of the judiciary may censure, suspend, or remove a judge.  Decisions of the court of the judiciary may be appealed to the supreme court.
  • Judges may be impeached.

Alaska

Alaska judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be suspended, removed from office, retired, or censured by the supreme court upon the recommendation of the commission on judicial conduct.

  • Judges may be impeached by two thirds of the senate and convicted by two thirds of the house of representatives.

Arizona

Arizona judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

  • Judges are subject to recall election.

Arkansas

Arkansas judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • The judicial discipline and disability commission, which is responsible for enforcing the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct, has the authority to investigate, as well as to initiate, complaints concerning misconduct of judges. After notice and hearing, the commission may, by majority vote of the membership, recommend to the supreme court that a judge be suspended or removed, and the supreme court sitting en banc may take such action.
  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by two thirds of the senate.
  • The governor may remove judges for good cause upon the joint address of two thirds of the members of both houses of the general assembly.

California

California judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by the assembly and convicted by two thirds of the senate.

  • Judges are subject to recall election.

  • The commission on judicial performance investigates complaints of judicial misconduct and incapacity and may privately admonish, suspend, censure, retire, or remove a judge. The commission's decisions are subject to review by the supreme court.

Colorado

Colorado judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • On the recommendation of the judicial discipline commission, the supreme court may remove, retire, suspend, censure, reprimand, or discipline a judge.

  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

  • Judges are subject to recall election.

Connecticut

Connecticut judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Judges may impeached by the house of representatives and removed by two thirds of the senate.

  • Judges may be removed by the governor on the address of two thirds of each house of the general assembly.

  • The judicial review council investigates complaints of judicial misconduct. If the investigation indicates that there is probable cause that the judge is guilty of misconduct, the council conducts a hearing and makes a recommendation to the supreme court. The supreme court may suspend or remove the judge.

Delaware

Delaware judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a majority of the house of representatives and convicted by two thirds of the senate.

  • Judges may be removed, retired, or disciplined by a two-thirds vote of the court on the judiciary.

District of Columbia

The commission on judicial disabilities and tenure has the authority to suspend, involuntarily retire, or remove judges of District of Columbia courts upon the filing of an order with the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Federal

N/A

Florida

Florida judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a two-thirds vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Georgia

Georgia judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Hawaii

The commission on judicial conduct has the authority to investigate and conduct hearings concerning allegations of judicial misconduct or disability and to recommend to the supreme court that a judge be reprimanded, disciplined, suspended, retired, or removed.

Idaho

Idaho judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • The Idaho Judicial Council investigates complaints against Idaho judges and may recommend to the supreme court the discipline, removal, or retirement of judges. The supreme court may review the recommendation of the judicial council and take additional evidence. The court may then reject the recommendation of the judicial council, or order discipline, removal, or retirement of the judge.

  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Illinois

Illinois judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • The judicial inquiry board files complaints with the courts commission. After notice and hearing, the commission may reprimand, censure, suspend, retire, or remove a judge.
  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and removed by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Indiana

Indiana judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by the senate.
  • Judges may be removed by joint resolution of the general assembly, upon the agreement of two thirds of the members of each house.

Iowa

Iowa judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a majority of the house of representatives and convicted by two thirds of the senate.
  • The commission on judicial qualifications has the authority to investigate complaints of judicial misconduct and recommend to the supreme court that it retire, discipline, or remove a judge.

Kansas

Kansas judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Judges may be removed by impeachment and conviction, as prescribed in Article 2 of the Kansas Constitution.

  • Judges of the court of appeals and district court may be removed by the supreme court on the recommendation of the commission on judicial qualifications. The commission on judicial qualifications is authorized to investigate allegations of misconduct and to recommend a formal hearing. If the charges are proven by clear and convincing evidence, the commission may admonish the judge, issue a cease-and-desist order, or recommend to the supreme court public censure, suspension, removal, or compulsory retirement of the judge.

  • Supreme court justices are subject to retirement upon certification to the governor (after a hearing by the supreme court nominating commission) that the justice is so incapacitated as to be unable to perform his duties.

Kentucky

Kentucky judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • After notice and hearing, the judicial conduct commission may admonish, reprimand, censure, suspend, retire, or remove a judge. The commission's decisions are subject to review by the supreme court.

  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Louisiana

Louisiana judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • On recommendation of the judiciary commission, the supreme court may censure, suspend remove, or retire judges.

  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and removed by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Maine

Maine judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

  • Judges may be removed upon the address by the governor of both houses of the legislature.

Maryland

Maryland judges may be removed in one of four ways:
  • Judges may be removed by the governor upon the address of the general assembly with the concurrence of two thirds of the members of each house.

  • Judges may be retired by the general assembly with a two-thirds vote of each house and the governor's concurrence.

  • Judges may be impeached by a majority of the house of delegates and convicted by two thirds of the senate.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • The commission on judicial conduct investigates complaints of judicial misconduct. Following a formal hearing, the commission may recommend to the supreme judicial court removal, retirement, or reprimand of a judge.

  • The governor, with consent of the governor's council, may remove judges upon the joint address of both houses of the general court. The governor, with consent of the governor's council, may also retire judges because of advanced age or mental or physical disability.

  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by the senate.

Michigan

Michigan judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate. 
  • The governor may remove a judge upon the concurrent resolution of two thirds of the members of both houses of the legislature.
  • On the recommendation of the judicial tenure commission, the supreme court may censure, suspend, retire, or remove a judge.   However, the Judicial Tenure Commission cannot deal with Supreme Court Justices.  There is currently no mechanism to deal with misbehavior by Supreme Court Jusices.

Minnesota

Minnesota judges may be removed one of two ways:
  • After a public hearing and on the recommendation of the board on judicial standards, the supreme court may censure, retire, or remove a judge.
  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.
  • Judges are subject to recall election.

Mississippi

Mississippi judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by two thirds of the house of representatives and removed by the senate.

  • Judges may be removed by the governor on the joint address of two thirds of both houses of the legislature.

Missouri

Missouri judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives. Impeachments are tried by the supreme court or by a special commission in the case of impeachments of the governor or a supreme court justice. Convictions require the concurrence of five sevenths of the court or commission.

Montana

Montana judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a two-thirds vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Nebraska

Nebraska judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by majority vote of the legislature and removed with the concurrence of two thirds of the members of the court of impeachment. The supreme court sits as the court of impeachment, unless a supreme court justice has been impeached. In that case, seven district court judges are selected to try the impeachment.

Nevada

Nevada judges may be removed in one of four ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the assembly and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.
  • Judges may be removed by legislative resolution, passed by two thirds of the members of both houses.
  • Judges are subject to recall election.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • The governor, with the consent of the executive council, may remove judges for reasonable cause upon the joint address of both houses of the general court.

  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by the senate.

  • The committee on judicial conduct investigates grievances filed against judges and may institute disciplinary proceedings in the supreme court when necessary. The supreme court may privately or publicly reprimand or censure, suspend, and remove judges.

New Jersey

New Jersey judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Removal proceedings against judges may be instigated by a majority of either house, by the governor filing a complaint with the supreme court, or by the supreme court on its own motion. The supreme court maintains an advisory committee on judicial conduct composed of private citizens appointed by the court. The committee reviews all allegations of misconduct and either dismisses the charges or recommends a formal hearing. Based upon the hearing, judges may be reprimanded, censured and suspended without pay, or removed from office.

  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of all members of the general assembly and removed by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

  • When the supreme court certifies to the governor that a judge is so incapacitated that s/he cannot substantially perform his/her judicial duties, a three-person commission is appointed to look into the matter. Upon the commission's recommendation, the governor may retire the judge from office.

New Mexico

New Mexico judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and removed by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

New York

New York judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Judges may be admonished, censured, retired, or removed from office by the commission on judicial conduct. The commission’s disciplinary actions are subject to review by the court of appeals.

  • Judges of the court of appeals and justices of the supreme court may be removed by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature. Other judges may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the senate on the recommendation of the governor.

  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the assembly and removed by a two-thirds vote of the court for the trial of impeachments. The court consists of the president of the senate, the senators, and the judges of the court of appeals.

North Carolina

North Carolina judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.
  • Judges may be removed for mental or physical incapacity by joint resolution of two thirds of the members of each house of the general assembly.

North Dakota

North Dakota judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

  • On the recommendation of the judicial conduct commission, the supreme court may discipline, censure, suspend, retire, or remove a judge.

  • Judges are subject to recall election.

Ohio

Ohio judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • Complaints alleging judicial misconduct may be filed with the disciplinary counsel or with a certified grievance committee of the board of commissioners on grievances and discipline, both of which have the authority to investigate and file formal complaints with the board. If two thirds of the members of the board believe there is substantial credible evidence to support the complaint, the supreme court appoints a commission of five judges to determine whether retirement, removal, or suspension is warranted. The commission's decision may be appealed to the supreme court.

  • Judges may be removed by a concurrent resolution of two thirds of the members of both houses of the general assembly.

  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma judges may be removed from office in one of two ways:
  • The council on judicial complaints receives and investigates allegations of judicial misconduct and when appropriate can recommend the removal of a judge from office to the court on the judiciary.

  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by two thirds of the senate.

Oregon

Oregon judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges are subject to recall election.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • The judicial conduct board investigates complaints regarding judicial conduct filed by individuals or initiated by the board. The board determines whether probable cause exists to file formal charges, and presents its case to the court of judicial discipline. The court has the authority to impose sanctions, ranging from a reprimand to removal from office, if the formal charges are sustained.
  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by two thirds of the senate.

Rhode Island

Judges can be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a resolution signed by one fourth of the members of the House of Representatives and convicted by two thirds of the Senate

  • The commission on judicial tenure and discipline reviews complaints against judges. Following a formal hearing, the commission either dismisses the complaint or recommends to the supreme court that the judge be reprimanded, censured, suspended, removed, or retired. The commission may also recommend the retirement of a judge for physical or mental disability.

South Carolina

South Carolina judges may be removed in one of three ways:
  • The commission on judicial conduct is authorized to investigate complaints of judicial misconduct and incapacity. Disciplinary counsel appointed by the supreme court evaluates each complaint and either dismisses the complaint or conducts a preliminary investigation. If evidence supports the complaint, a full investigation is authorized. If the investigation supports the filing of formal charges, a hearing is conducted, after which a recommendation is made to the supreme court for sanctions, dismissal, transfer to inactive status, retirement, or removal.

  • Judges may be impeached by a two-thirds vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

  • Judges may be removed by the governor upon the address of two thirds of each house of the general assembly.

South Dakota

South Dakota judges may be removed in one of two ways:

  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Tennessee

Tennessee judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and convicted by two-thirds vote of the senate.
  • Upon recommendation by the court of the judiciary, the general assembly may remove judges by a two-thirds vote of both houses, with each house voting separately.

Texas

Texas judges may be removed in one of four ways:
  • The state commission on judicial conduct investigates, and if warranted, prosecutes allegations of misconduct by Texas judges. Upon a commission recommendation of removal or retirement, the supreme court selects a review tribunal from among court of appeals judges to verify the findings and enter a judgment. Judges may appeal decisions of the review tribunal to the supreme court.

  • Judges may be removed by the governor on the address of two thirds of the house and senate.

  • Judges may be impeached by the house of representatives and removed by two thirds of the senate.

  • The supreme court may remove district court judges from office.

Utah

Utah judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • The judicial conduct commission may reprimand, censure, suspend, retire, or remove a judge. The commission's decisions are subject to review by the supreme court.
  • Judges may be impeached by a two-thirds vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Vermont

Vermont judges may be removed in one of two ways: 

  • Vermont judges may be impeached by a two-thirds vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.
  • The judicial conduct board investigates complaints of judicial misconduct or disability and recommends any necessary action to the supreme court. Possible disciplinary actions include public reprimand of the judge, suspension for a part or the remainder of the judge's term of office, or retirement of the judge if physically or mentally disabled.

Virginia

Virginia judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • The judicial inquiry and review commission investigates complaints of judicial misconduct or serious mental or physical disability that interferes with a judge's duties. The commission may conduct hearings and gather evidence to determine whether the charges are substantial. If the commission finds the charges to be significant, a formal complaint is filed with the supreme court. The supreme court may dismiss the complaint or it may retire, censure, or remove the judge.

  • Judges may be impeached by the house of delegates and removed by a two thirds vote of the senate.

Washington

Washington judges may be removed in one of two ways:
  • Judges may be removed from office by joint resolution of the legislature, in which three fourths of the members of each house must concur.

  • The commission on judicial conduct investigates complaints of judicial misconduct or disability and recommends to the supreme court that the judge be suspended, removed, or retired. The supreme court makes the final decision after reviewing the commission's record and hearing argument on the matter.

West Virginia

West Virginia judges may be impeached by the house of delegates and removed by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin judges may be removed in one of four ways:
  • On the recommendation of the judicial commission and after review, the supreme court may reprimand, censure, suspend, or remove a judge.

  • Judges may be impeached by a majority vote of the assembly and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.

  • Judges may be removed by address of both houses of the legislature with the concurrence of two thirds of the members of each house.

  • Judges are subject to recall election.

Wyoming

Wyoming judges may be removed one of three ways:
  • Judges may be impeached by a majority of the house of representatives and convicted by two thirds of the senate.