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Methods of Judicial Selection: Texas

Selection of Judges

Number of Judgeships
Supreme Court: 9
Court of Criminal Appeals: 9
Court of Appeals: 80
District Court: 433
Number of Districts/Circuits
Supreme Court: --
Court of Criminal Appeals: --
Court of Appeals: 14
District Court: 432
Geographic Basis for Selection
Supreme Court: statewide
Court of Criminal Appeals: statewide
Court of Appeals: district
District Court: district
Method of Selection (full term)
Supreme Court: partisan election
Court of Criminal Appeals: partisan election
Court of Appeals: partisan election
District Court: partisan election
Length of Term
Supreme Court: 6 yrs
Court of Criminal Appeals: 6 yrs
Court of Appeals: 6 yrs
District Court: 4 yrs
Method of Retention
Supreme Court: reelection
Court of Criminal Appeals: reelection
Court of Appeals: reelection
District Court: reelection
Length of Subsequent Terms
Supreme Court: 6 yrs
Court of Criminal Appeals: 6 yrs
Court of Appeals: 6 yrs
District Court: 4 yrs
Method of Filling Interim Vacancies
Supreme Court: gubernatorial appointment with senate approval
Court of Criminal Appeals: gubernatorial appointment with senate approval
Court of Appeals: gubernatorial appointment with senate approval
District Court: gubernatorial appointment with senate approval
When Interim Judges Stand for Election/Appointment
Supreme Court: next general election; hold office for remainder of unexpired term
Court of Criminal Appeals: next general election; hold office for remainder of unexpired term
Court of Appeals: next general election; hold office for remainder of unexpired term
District Court: next general election; hold office for remainder of unexpired term
Selection of Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: popular election
Court of Criminal Appeals: popular election
Court of Appeals: popular election
District Court: --
Term of Office for Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: 6 yrs
Court of Criminal Appeals: 6 yrs
Court of Appeals: 6 yrs
District Court: --
Qualifications
Supreme Court: U.S. citizen; state resident; licensed in state; between 35 yrs and 74 yrs of age; 10 yrs practicing lawyer and/or judge*
Court of Criminal Appeals: U.S. citizen; state resident; licensed in state; between 35 yrs and 74 yrs of age; 10 yrs practicing lawyer and/or judge*
Court of Appeals: U.S. citizen; state resident; licensed in state; between 35 yrs and 74 yrs of age; 10 yrs practicing lawyer and/or judge*
District Court: U.S. citizen; state resident; licensed in state; between 25 yrs and 74 yrs of age; 4 yrs practicing lawyer and/or state judge; resident of judicial district 2 yrs*

Selection and retention methods and term lengths are prescribed by Article 5 of the Texas Constitution.

*In 2007, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing judges who reached mandatory retirement age to finish their term of office.