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State of Mississippi

History of Reform Efforts: Mississippi

Altering Selection Methods

Method of selection and term lengths for judges of the supreme court, chancery court, and circuit court are prescribed in the Mississippi Constitution. However, because the constitution only specifies that judges are to be elected, the move from partisan to nonpartisan elections in 1994 did not require a constitutional amendment. A constitutional amendment would be necessary to move to an appointive system or to lengthen judicial terms. Constitutional amendments may be proposed by the legislature or by initiative. Amendments may be proposed with the approval of two thirds of both houses of the legislature or by a petition signed by voters numbering at least 12% of the votes for governor in the last election. Proposed amendments must then be ratified by a majority of voters. Method of selection and term lengths for court of appeals judges are established by statute.