Qualification and Selection Process for Judges
Qualification and Selection Process for Judges in Texas
Reportedly, the current court system of Texas was came into place in 1891 following an amendment of the constitution which sought to establish the Supreme Court (as the highest court in the state) and fourteen other intermediate courts that supplemented the supreme court by hearing civil and criminal cases. The constitution also highlighted the qualifications that one had to have in order to be considered for a court job position, particularly judges’ job posts.
Currently the Texas constitution has it that for one to qualify as a judge in Texas County Court which include Constitutional County Courts and Statutory County Courts (also known as Probate Courts), the person has to be at least 25 years old (Texas Courts Online, 2012). Additionally, the person before starting to practice as a judge has to be licensed to practice law besides being a resident of Texas. Just like many other professions, anyone wanting to be considered for a judge job must be experienced for at least four years (Texas Courts Online, 2012). Notably, Constitutional County Courts do not require any licensure.
Similarly, a person who wants to serve as a judge in a Texas’ court of appeal must have practiced law for a minimum of ten years. The person has to be a citizen of the U.S. residing in Texas besides being between age 34 and 74 with not less than ten years of experience serving as a lawyer (Texas Courts Online, 2012). The Qualifications of a court of appeal judge are the same with the qualifications for Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals Judges except that the last two require one to have minimum age of 35 (Texas Courts Online, 2012).
Notably, Justice Courts do not have any qualifications while the qualifications for Municipal Court judges in Texas are normally determined by the governing bodies of the various cities within Texas (Texas Courts Online, 2012). On the same note, the selection of County Court judges, Constitutional County Court judges, Statutory County Court judges Supreme Court judges and Court of Criminal Appeals court judges is carried out through elections that are held in each court while vacancies between elections are filled by gubernatorial appointments though the appointment has to be approved by the senate (Texas Courts Online, 2012).
Qualification and Selection Process for Judges in Florida
Ideally, the judiciary system of Florida is made of various courts, which are inclusive of the Supreme Court, Circuit Courts, District Courts and County Courts. The American Judicature Society (AJS) (2012) states that according to the Florida constitution, there should be seven Supreme Court judges. For one to qualify as a Supreme Court judge, one has to be a qualified elector and must not be aged above 70 years (the retirement age for all judges in Florida is 70 years (AJS, 2012). In tandem to this, the person must have 10 year experience while practicing law. Just like the Supreme Court judges, District Court judges (who should total to 60) must also be qualified electors with a maximum age of 70 years and must have practiced law for at least ten years. The qualification for Circuit Court judges is also the same at the qualification for District Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court Judges only that the experience duration period is reduced to five years (AJS, 2012).
The selection process of judges in Florida is essentially the same as the selection process of judges in Texas in that the selection is done through a gubernatorial appointment with the approval of the nominating commission; only circuit judges are selected through nonpartisan voting process (AJS, 2012)s. It is noteworthy that all interim vacancies, regardless of the type of court, are filled through a gubernatorial appointment (AJS, 2012).
American Judicature Society (2012). Methods of Judicial Selection: Florida. The American Judicature Society. Retrieved November 4, 2012, from http://www.judicialselection.us/judicial_selection/methods/selection_of_judges.cfm?state=FL
Texas Courts Online (2012). Judicial Qualifications and Selection in the State of Texas. Texas Courts Online. Retrieved November 4, 2012, from http://www.courts.state.tx.us/pubs/AR2006/jud_branch/5-judge-qualifications-chart-06.pdf