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State of Arizona

Methods of Judicial Selection: Arizona

Selection of Judges

Number of Judgeships
Supreme Court: 7
Court of Appeals: 22
Superior Court: 174
Number of Districts/Circuits
Supreme Court: --
Court of Appeals: 2 divisions
Superior Court: 15 counties
Geographic Basis for Selection
Supreme Court: statewide
Court of Appeals: division*
Superior Court: county
Method of Selection (full term)
Supreme Court: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
Court of Appeals: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
Superior Court: partisan primary; nonpartisan general election/gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission**
Length of Term
Supreme Court: at least 2 yrs
Court of Appeals: at least 2 yrs
Superior Court: 4 yrs/at least 2 yrs**
Method of Retention
Supreme Court: retention election
Court of Appeals: retention election
Superior Court: reelection/retention election**
Length of Subsequent Terms
Supreme Court: 6 yrs
Court of Appeals: 6 yrs
Superior Court: 4 yrs
Method of Filling Interim Vacancies
Supreme Court: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
Court of Appeals: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
Superior Court: gubernatorial appointment/gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission**
When Interim Judges Stand for Election/Appointment
Supreme Court: next general election after 2 yrs in office
Court of Appeals: next general election after 2 yrs in office
Superior Court: next general election/next general election after 2 yrs in office**
Selection of Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: peer vote
Court of Appeals: peer vote
Superior Court: supreme court appoints
Term of Office for Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: 5 yrs
Court of Appeals: 1 yr
Superior Court: remainder of 4 yr term
Qualifications
Supreme Court: state resident and licensed in state 10 yrs; mandatory retirement at 70
Court of Appeals: 30 yrs of age; state resident and licensed in state 5 yrs; local resident 1 yr; mandatory retirement at 70
Superior Court: 30 yrs of age; state resident and licensed in state 5 yrs; local resident 1 yr; mandatory retirement at 70

Selection and retention methods and term lengths are prescribed by Article 6 of the Arizona Constitution. 

*Court of appeals judges who reside in Maricopa and Pima Counties stand for retention in those counties. Court of appeals judges who reside in counties other than Maricopa and Pima stand for retention in all of the other counties within their division.

**The Arizona Constitution provides for merit selection and retention of judges in counties with populations of 250,000 or greater. Currently, this includes Maricopa, Pima and Pinal Counties. Counties whose populations are less than 250,000 may adopt merit selection through ballot initiative.