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State of Florida

Methods of Judicial Selection: Florida

Selection of Judges

Number of Judgeships
Supreme Court: 7
District Courts of Appeal: 60
Circuit Court: 597
Number of Districts/Circuits
Supreme Court: --
District Courts of Appeal: 5
Circuit Court: 20
Geographic Basis for Selection
Supreme Court: statewide
District Courts of Appeal: district
Circuit Court: circuit
Method of Selection (full term)
Supreme Court: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
District Courts of Appeal: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
Circuit Court: nonpartisan election*
Length of Term
Supreme Court: at least 1 yr
District Courts of Appeal: at least 1 yr
Circuit Court: 6 yrs
Method of Retention
Supreme Court: retention election
District Courts of Appeal: retention election
Circuit Court: reelection
Length of Subsequent Terms
Supreme Court: 6 yrs
District Courts of Appeal: 6 yrs
Circuit Court: 6 yrs
Method of Filling Interim Vacancies
Supreme Court: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
District Courts of Appeal: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
Circuit Court: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
When Interim Judges Stand for Election/Appointment
Supreme Court: next general election more than 1 yr after appointment
District Courts of Appeal: next general election more than 1 yr after appointment
Circuit Court: next general election more than 1 yr after appointment
Selection of Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: peer vote
District Courts of Appeal: peer vote
Circuit Court: peer vote
Term of Office for Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: 2 yrs
District Courts of Appeal: 2 yrs
Circuit Court: 2 yrs
Qualifications
Supreme Court: qualified elector; state resident; admitted to practice law in state 10 yrs; mandatory retirement age of 70
District Courts of Appeal: qualified elector; state resident; admitted to practice law in state 10 yrs; mandatory retirement age of 70
Circuit Court: qualified elector; circuit resident; admitted to practice law in state 5 yrs; mandatory retirement age of 70

Selection and retention methods and term lengths are prescribed by Article V of the Florida Constitution and Title V, Section 43.291. 

*If two or more candidates qualify for the ballot, they compete in the first primary election. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two candidates run in the general election. The voters in each circuit may exercise a local option for merit selection and retention of circuit court judges. A circuit may initiate the local option by filing with the secretary of state a petition signed by a number of voters equal to at least 10% of the votes cast in the circuit in the most recent presidential election. The measure must then be approved by a majority of circuit voters.