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State of Virginia

Methods of Judicial Selection: Virginia

Selection of Judges

Number of Judgeships
Supreme Court: 7
Court of Appeals: 11
Circuit Court: 157
Number of Districts/Circuits
Supreme Court: --
Court of Appeals: --
Circuit Court: 31
Geographic Basis for Selection
Supreme Court: statewide
Court of Appeals: statewide
Circuit Court: circuit
Method of Selection (full term)
Supreme Court: legislative election
Court of Appeals: legislative election
Circuit Court: legislative election
Length of Term
Supreme Court: 12 yrs
Court of Appeals: 8 yrs
Circuit Court: 8 yrs
Method of Retention
Supreme Court: reelection by legislature*
Court of Appeals: reelection by legislature*
Circuit Court: reelection by legislature*
Length of Subsequent Terms
Supreme Court: 12 yrs
Court of Appeals: 8 yrs
Circuit Court: 8 yrs
Method of Filling Interim Vacancies
Supreme Court: legislative election**
Court of Appeals: legislative election**
Circuit Court: legislative election**
When Interim Judges Stand for Election/Appointment
Supreme Court: **
Court of Appeals: **
Circuit Court: **
Selection of Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: peer vote
Court of Appeals: peer vote
Circuit Court: peer vote
Term of Office for Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: 4 yrs
Court of Appeals: 4 yrs
Circuit Court: 2 yrs
Qualifications
Supreme Court: state resident; state bar member 5 yrs; maximum age of 70
Court of Appeals: state resident; state bar member 5 yrs; maximum age of 70
Circuit Court: state and circuit resident; state bar member 5 yrs; maximum age of 70

Selection and retention methods and term lengths are prescribed by Article VI, Section 7 of the Virginia Constitution. 

*The courts of justice committees of the house of delegates and the senate interview candidates who seek reelection. Then the full house and senate vote.

**When the general assembly is in session, vacancies are filled through legislative election. When the legislature is not in session, the governor fills vacancies through appointment. Appointees must then be elected at the next legislative session.