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Parts One, Two, Three and Four

Now we'll move on to the State Supreme Courts, which I'll split into two parts. Things get a little different here.


Well, I researched all 50 of the states' Supreme Courts (you're welcome), and these are the different ways I've found that state Supreme Court justices get chosen, in color-coded map form.

Orange: Non-partisan elections (17 states)
Term lengths vary. Now what do those blue squares on Ohio and Michigan mean? You'll see.

Purple: The "Missouri Plan" (13 states)
When there is a judicial vacancy, an independent, non-partisan commission reviews candidates and presents a list to the Governor. The Governor has 60 days to decide, and if s/he doesn't, the commission decides. After one year of service, the justice must face a retention election. If s/he survives the retention election, s/he is elected to a full term, the length of which varies.

Green: Gubernatorial appointment with legislative confirmation (10 states)
Legislative bodies in question vary. Term length varies.

Blue: Partisan elections (6 states)
Term length vary

Pink: Elected by the legislature (2 states)
Term lengths vary.

Black: California
I'll explain this below.

Alabama

Selection method: Statewide partisan election
Term length: 6 years
Mandatory retirement: Age 70
Size: Nine

Chief Justice: Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore (R)

Associate justices:
8 Republicans

Meeting place: Alabama Judicial Building, Montgomery

Alaska

Selection method: Missouri Plan
Term length: 10 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Five

Chief Justice: Dana Fabe (Knowles)

Governors appointing:
2 Knowles (D)
1 Palin (R)
2 Parnell (R)

Meeting place: Varies, prefers to meet in judicial district where case originated.

Arizona

Selection method: Missouri Plan
Term length: 6 years
Mandatory retirement: 70
Size: Five (one currently vacant)

Chief Justice: Rebecca White Berch

Governors appointing:
1 Hull (R)
1 Napolitano (D)
2 Brewer (R)

Meeting place: Supreme Court Building, Phoenix

Arkansas

Selection method: Statewide non-partisan election
Term length: 8 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Jim Hannah

Meeting place: Arkansas Justice Building, Little Rock

California

Selection method: This is one of the three special cases I mentioned above. As far as I can tell, California's Governor can appoint anyone s/he wants as long as the appointee had either been practicing law or sitting on a court for 10 years prior. No commission or confirmation needed.
Term length: 12 years (retention election after appointment)
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Tanil Cantil-Sakauye (Schwarzeneggar)

Governors appointing:
2 Deukmejian (R)
2 Pete Wilson (R)
2 Schwarzeneggar (R)
1 Brown (D)

Meeting places: Earl Warren Building and Courthouse, San Francisco

Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building, Sacramento

Ronald Reagan State Building, Los Angeles

Colorado

Selection method: Missouri plan
Term length: 10 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Michael Bender (Romer)

Governors appointing:
3 Romer (D)
2 Owens (R)
1 Ritter (D)
1 Hickenlooper (D)

Meeting place: Ralph L. Carr Justice Center, Denver (opening this year)

Connecticut

Selection method: Gubernatorial appointment with confirmation by both houses of the General Assembly
Term length: 8 years (no retention elections)
Mandatory retirement: 70
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Chase Rogers (Rell)

Governors appointing:
2 Wiecker (I)
1 Rowland (R)
3 Rell (R)
1 Malloy (D)

Meeting place: Supreme Court Building, Hartford

Delaware


Selection method: Gubernatorial appointment with confirmation by the Delaware Senate.
Term length: 12 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Five

Chief Justice: Myron Steele (Minner)

Governors appointing:
1 Carper (D)
3 Minner (D)
1 Markell (D)

Weird:

[T]hree of the five Justices of the Supreme Court in office at the same time, shall be of one major political party, and two of said Justices shall be of the other major political party.
I don't know which justices are which in this case.

Meeting place: Supreme Court Building, Wilmington

Florida


Selection method: Missouri Plan
Term length: 6 years
Mandatory retirement: 70
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Ricky Polston (Crist)

Governors appointing:
2 Chiles (D)
1 Chiles/Bush (co-chosen)
4 Crist (then R)

Meeting place: Supreme Court Building, Tallahassee

Georgia


Selection method: statewide non-partisan election
Term length: 6 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Carol Hunstein

Meeting place: Supreme Court Building, Atlanta

Hawaii


Selection method: Missouri Plan
Term length: 10 years
Mandatory retirement: 70
Size: Five

Chief Justice: Mark Recktenwald (Lingle)

Governors appointing:
1 Waihee (D)
2 Lingle (R)
2 Abercrombie (D)

Meeting place: Aliʻiōlani Hale, Honolulu

Idaho


Selection method: Statewide non-partisan election
Term length: 6 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Five

Chief Justice: Roger Burdick

Meeting place: Supreme Court Building, Boise

Illinois


Selection method: Partisan election from 5 districts
Term length: 10 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Thomas Kilbride (D)

District 1:
3 D
District 2:
1 R
District 3:
1 D
District 4:
1 R
District 5:
1 R

Meeting place: Illinois Supreme Courthouse, Springfield

Indiana


Selection method: Missouri Plan
Term length: 10 years (retention election after 2)
Mandatory retirement: 75
Size: Five

Chief Justice: Brent Dickson (Orr)

Governors appointing:
1 Orr (R)
1 O'Bannon (D)
3 Daniels (R)

Meeting place: Indiana Statehouse, Indianapolis

Iowa


Selection method: Missouri Plan
Term length: 10 years (retention election after 1)\
Mandatory retirement: 72
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Mark Cady (Branstad)

Governor appointing:
4 Branstad (R)
3 Vilsack (D)

Meeting place: Iowa Judicial Branch Building, Des Moines

Kansas


Selection method: Missouri Plan
Term length: 6 years
Mandatory retirement: 70
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Lawton Nuss (Graves)

Governor appointing:
2 Graves (R)
4 Sebelius (D)
1 Parkinson (D)

Meeting place: Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka

Kentucky


Selection method: Nonpartisan election from 7 districts
Term length: 8 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Seven (one from each district)

Chief Justice: John Minton Jr. (District 2)

Meeting place: Kentucky State Capitol, Frankfort

Louisiana


Selection method: Nonpartisan election from 7 districts
Term length: 10 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Bernette Johnson (District 7)

Meeting place: Supreme Court Building, French Quarter, New Orleans

Maine (Supreme Judicial Court)


Selection method: Gubernatorial appointment with confirmation by Maine Senate
Term length: 7 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Leigh Saufley (King)

Governor appointing:
3 King (I)
4 Baldacci (D)

Meeting place: Supreme Judicial Court Building, Portland

Maryland (Court of Appeals)


Selection method: Gubernatorial appointment from 7 districts with confirmation by Maryland Senate
Term length: 10 years (retention election after 1)
Mandatory retirement: 70
Size: Seven (one from each district)

Chief Judge: Robert Bell (Glendening, District 6)

Governor appointing:
3 Glendening (D)
1 Ehrlich (R)
3 O'Malley (D)

Meeting place: Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building, Annapolis

Massachusetts


Selection method: Gubernatorial appointment with confirmation by the Governor's Council
Term length: n/a
Mandatory retirement: 70
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Roderick Ireland (originally by Weld, appointed as Chief by Patrick)

Governor appointing:
1 Weld (R)
2 Celucci (R)
4 Patrick (D)

Meeting place: John Adams Courthouse, Boston

Michigan


Selection method: Statewide nonpartisan election, but political parties nominate candidates (that's what the blue square means). Governors can appoint in the event of a vacancy.
Term length: 8 years
Mandatory retirement: 70
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Robert Young (Engler)

5 Republicans
2 appointed by Engler and subsequently elected
1 appointed by Snyder and subsequently elected
1 appointed by Snyder, up for election in 2014
1 elected outright

2 Democrats
2 elected outright

Meeting place: Michigan Hall of Justice, Lansing

Minnesota


Selection method: Nonpartisan election, gubernatorial appointment in event of midterm vacancy
Term length: 6 years
Mandatory retirement: 70
Size: Seven

Chief Justice: Lorie Skjerven Gildea

4 appointed by Tim Pawlenty (R) and subsequently elected
2 appointed by Mark Dayton (D), retention election in 2014
1 elected outright

Meeting place: Minnesota State Capitol, or Minnesota Judicial Center, St. Paul

Mississippi


Selection method: Nonpartisan election from 3 districts, gubernatorial appointment in event of midterm vacancy
Term length: 8 years
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Nine (3 from each district)

Chief Justice: William Waller, Jr. (District 1)

3 appointed by Haley Barbour (R) and subsequently elected
6 elected outright

Meeting place: Supreme Court Building, Jackson

Missouri


Selected method: Missouri Plan (Who'da thunk!)
Term length: 12 years (retention election after 1)
Mandatory retirement: n/a
Size: Six

Chief Justice: Richard Teitelman (Holden)

Governor appointing:
3 Holden (D)
2 Blunt (R)
1 Nixon (D)

Meeting place: Supreme Court Building, Jefferson City

The Seventh (and last) installment will be coming soon!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    25, Practical Progressive Democrat (-9.38, -8.51), Gay, IN-02 - Defeat Wacky Jackie for 2014!

    by HoosierD42 on Mon May 13, 2013 at 04:24:19 PM PDT

  •  You say there are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoosierD42

    nine states in the 'Gubernatorial appointment with legislative confirmation' category, but ten states are shaded on the map.

    (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

    by ProudNewEnglander on Mon May 13, 2013 at 05:22:41 PM PDT

  •  Two suggestions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoosierD42

    one, combine the maps of election/confirmation type into one so that we can look at just one map and see all the states that are non-partisan, partisan, Missouri-plan, etc in one, and two, I would investigate the partisan breakdown of all of the ;non-partisan' courts because they're clearly still going to be somewhat partisan. For example, North Carolina is very clearly 4-3 Republican. Otherwise the diary doesn't tell us much more than wikipedia would.

    •  The same could be said of this entire series (0+ / 0-)

      To be honest.

      25, Practical Progressive Democrat (-9.38, -8.51), Gay, IN-02 - Defeat Wacky Jackie for 2014!

      by HoosierD42 on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:08:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would be (0+ / 0-)

        Incredibly difficult and labor-intensive to investigate the party affiliations in states with non-partisan elections. I suppose I can look into it and update the diary later.

        The map note is a good one though, I'll fix that.

        25, Practical Progressive Democrat (-9.38, -8.51), Gay, IN-02 - Defeat Wacky Jackie for 2014!

        by HoosierD42 on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:10:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good stuff as per usual with this series. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoosierD42

    Do we ever contest these judicial elections in Michigan ? Seems strange that they win Statewide for the Non presidential / senate elections.

    Town Planner, 30 years Old, Election Junkie, "If you agree with Bush's economic policy, Cheney's foreign policy, and Santorum's social policy, you loved Romney's speech" - James Carville (aka the Ragin Cajun) on the Colbert Report

    by CF of Aus on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:31:24 PM PDT

  •  When you make an interlocutory appeal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoosierD42, MichaelNY

    to a State Supreme Court and they accept it saying their decision will apply to the Superior Courts final judgement and then come back to you several months or a year later and dismiss the appeal saying its interlocutory, and that you can't now appeal the final verdict because that appeal isn't now timely, is it possible to appeal the State Law Courts decision to a higher authority, and if so where do your take it?

    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

    by rktect on Tue May 14, 2013 at 03:43:29 AM PDT

    •  Basically no. Unless the issue implicates a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoosierD42, MichaelNY

      "federal question" (meaning, there's some issue of federal statutory or constitutional law), there is no higher authority.  To the extent that your issue is a matter of say, Virginia law, you're stuck with whatever decision the Virginia Supreme Court makes.  If there IS a federal question (say, there's a colorable argument that the state has denied you due process in violation of the US Constitution), then you can try and appeal to the United States Supreme Court, but of course that's a long shot.  

      Except in criminal cases (and even then, only under VERY SPECIFIC circumstances) can you attempt to get a state court's judgement overturned by a lower federal court.

    •  Me too! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoosierD42

      So many beautiful court buildings, too.

      One question, though: Has anyone tested the 70-year-old mandatory retirement ages in Federal court? The US Supreme Court nullified 65-year-old mandatory retirement ages for teachers back in the 1970s (I think that's right). Would they take on state procedures on court eligibility if someone tested them?

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:22:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is California's SC conservative? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, HoosierD42

    The party breakdown (based on Governor's party) is 6R 1D, which is an extremely Republican proportion for CA.

  •  FYI - Florida's is more liberal than it looks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psychicpanda, MichaelNY, HoosierD42

    The 2 Chiles appointments, the Chiles/Bush appointment and one of the Crist appointments are Democrats.  A second Crist appointment is a moderate who more often than not sides with the left side of the court.  

    It's more or less 5 liberal/moderates and only 2 conservatives in the Florida Supreme Court.  This has been a major annoyance for the Florida GOP for ages.  It's the last bastion of Democratic power they can't crack in Florida.  Rick Scott tried to "re-organize" the court in a clear power grab and failed earlier in his term.  Thankfully Rick Scott won't get to make any appointments unless he gets re-elected.

  •  Minor error regarding the Maryland court (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoosierD42

    It's actually 1 Schaefer (D); 2 Glendening (D); 1 Ehrlich (R); and 3 O'Malley (D).  The Schaefer nominee, Chief Judge Robert Bell, turns 70 this summer and so must step aside, to be replaced by an O'Malley nominee.

    BTW, I don't know how such a sloppily drawn map found its way into the official state government guide (the Maryland Manual).  The judicial circuits follow county lines (some are one county, other several) but I could draw neater county lines closer to reality working freehand after consuming a case of Natty Boh. :)

    37, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

    by Mike in MD on Tue May 14, 2013 at 09:05:04 PM PDT

  •  Here's the partisan data for the Kentucky seats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoosierD42

     photo KYSupremeCourtDistrictData2012_zpseff2e4d5.png

    I'd assume that we hold 3 with a mainstream Dem, 7 with a conservadem, while Republicans hold 4 and 5 and the remaining three are swingy. I really don't get why the 1st and 2nd are drawn that way as the only reason would be to crack the Dem areas so that there are two swing seats rather than one Dem and one GOP seat. Does the legislature redistrict every 10 years? How frequent are the judicial elections?

  •  Here's Mississippi's districts' data (0+ / 0-)

     photo MSSupremeCourtDistrictsData_zpsa3dc62d6.png

    And I don't see how the hell this passes muster with the VRA as the caselaw is fairly clear that VRA districts have to be >50% VAP black if they satisfy the Gingles criteria. That alone would be worth 2 extra points of performance. This is still a pretty effective 'VRA compliant' GOP gerrymander as the 1st would only vote reliably Dem in presidential years while I'm guessing judges are elected in odd numbered years when the GOP is slightly favored here.

  •  Wow for a state as Dem as Illinois (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    the court district map sure has a GOP bias thanks to Cook County being a vote sink.
     photo ILSupremeCourtDistrictsA_zpsd00bb139.png

    Basically there are 3 safe D districts, 1 safe R district, and 1 pure tossup and 2 GOP leaning districts that are still winnable.

    Are there any other states in part two that have whole county based districts? I'd run the Maryland data but I can't tell precisely where the splits are, same with Louisiana in New Orleans, but considering how that's basically the same as last decade's congressional map we probably have 1 liberal and 2 conservadems in districts 3 and 6 I'm guessing. Maryland is probably 5-2 if the elections were initially by district instead of appointment with retention.

    •  They're both by whole counties (0+ / 0-)

      The map doesn't show it well for Maryland, but this chart explains it.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      With Louisiana, District 7 is Orleans Parish, and 1 is Jefferson Parish. The rest of the districts should be easy enough to figure out.

      25, Practical Progressive Democrat (-9.38, -8.51), Gay, IN-02 - Defeat Wacky Jackie for 2014!

      by HoosierD42 on Mon May 20, 2013 at 05:41:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whoops, I'm wrong. (0+ / 0-)

        Districts 1 and 7 in Louisiana swap some precincts between Jefferson and Orleans Parishes.

        25, Practical Progressive Democrat (-9.38, -8.51), Gay, IN-02 - Defeat Wacky Jackie for 2014!

        by HoosierD42 on Mon May 20, 2013 at 05:43:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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