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State of Louisiana

Methods of Judicial Selection: Louisiana

Selection of Judges

Number of Judgeships
Supreme Court: 7
Court of Appeals: 53
District Court: 217
Number of Districts/Circuits
Supreme Court: 7
Court of Appeals: 5*
District Court: 41
Geographic Basis for Selection
Supreme Court: district
Court of Appeals: circuit/district*
District Court: district
Method of Selection (full term)
Supreme Court: partisan election**
Court of Appeals: partisan election**
District Court: partisan election**
Length of Term
Supreme Court: 10 yrs
Court of Appeals: 10 yrs
District Court: 6 yrs
Method of Retention
Supreme Court: reelection
Court of Appeals: reelection
District Court: reelection
Length of Subsequent Terms
Supreme Court: 10 yrs
Court of Appeals: 10 yrs
District Court: 6 yrs
Method of Filling Interim Vacancies
Supreme Court: special election***
Court of Appeals: special election***
District Court: special election***
When Interim Judges Stand for Election/Appointment
Supreme Court: expiration of unexpired term
Court of Appeals: expiration of unexpired term
District Court: expiration of unexpired term
Selection of Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: seniority
Court of Appeals: seniority
District Court: peer vote
Term of Office for Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: duration of service
Court of Appeals: duration of service
District Court: varies by court
Qualifications
Supreme Court: 10 yrs state practice; 1 yr district resident; maximum age of 70
Court of Appeals: 10 yrs state practice; 1 yr district/circuit resident; maximum age of 70
District Court: 8 yrs state practice; 1 yr district resident; maximum age of 70

Selection and retention methods and term lengths are prescribed by Article V of the Louisiana Constitution. 

*Louisiana is divided into five circuits, and each circuit is divided into districts. Judges are elected from districts or at large within their circuits.

**Louisiana uses a blanket primary, in which all candidates appear with party labels on the primary ballot. The top two vote getters compete in the general election.

***Vacancies are filled within one year by special election called by the governor. In the interim, vacancies are filled by supreme court appointment. Appointees may not run in the special election.