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State of Oklahoma

Methods of Judicial Selection: Oklahoma

Selection of Judges

Number of Judgeships
Supreme Court: 9
Court of Criminal Appeals: 5
Court of Civil Appeals: 12
District Court: 75*
Number of Districts/Circuits
Supreme Court: 9
Court of Criminal Appeals: 5
Court of Civil Appeals: 6
District Court: 26
Geographic Basis for Selection
Supreme Court: district
Court of Criminal Appeals: district
Court of Civil Appeals: district
District Court: district
Method of Selection (full term)
Supreme Court: gubernatorial appointment through nominating commission
Court of Criminal Appeals: gubernatorial appointment through nominating commission
Court of Civil Appeals: gubernatorial appointment through nominating commission
District Court: nonpartisan election**
Length of Term
Supreme Court: at least 1 yr
Court of Criminal Appeals: at least 1 yr
Court of Civil Appeals: at least 1 yr
District Court: 4 yrs
Method of Retention
Supreme Court: retention election
Court of Criminal Appeals: retention election
Court of Civil Appeals: retention election
District Court: reelection
Length of Subsequent Terms
Supreme Court: 6 yrs
Court of Criminal Appeals: 6 yrs
Court of Civil Appeals: 6 yrs
District Court: 4 yrs
Method of Filling Interim Vacancies
Supreme Court: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
Court of Criminal Appeals: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
Court of Civil Appeals: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
District Court: gubernatorial appointment from nominating commission
When Interim Judges Stand for Election/Appointment
Supreme Court: next general election; hold office for remainder of unexpired term
Court of Criminal Appeals: next general election; hold office for remainder of unexpired term
Court of Civil Appeals: next general election; hold office for remainder of unexpired term
District Court: next general election; hold office for remainder of unexpired term
Selection of Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: peer vote
Court of Criminal Appeals: peer vote
Court of Civil Appeals: peer vote
District Court: peer vote
Term of Office for Chief Judge/Justice
Supreme Court: 2 yrs
Court of Criminal Appeals: 2 yrs
Court of Civil Appeals: 1 yr
District Court: 1 yr
Qualifications
Supreme Court: 30 yrs of age; qualified elector in district > 1 yr; licensed to practice or judge of court of record > 5 yrs
Court of Criminal Appeals: 30 yrs of age; qualified elector in district > 1 yr; licensed to practice or judge of court of record > 5 yrs
Court of Civil Appeals: qualified elector in district > 1 yr; licensed to practice or judge of court of record > 4 yrs
District Court: qualified elector in district > 1 yr; licensed to practice or judge of court of record > 4 yrs

Selection and retention methods and term lengths are prescribed by Articles 7 and 7B of the Oklahoma Constitution and Title 20, Section 30-18 of the Oklahoma Statutes. 

*Number does not include district associate judges and special judges.

**A nonpartisan primary is held if more than two candidates file for a district court judgeship. If a candidate wins a majority of votes in the primary, the candidate is elected and does not run in the general election.