How Minnesota Judges Are sElected

Appointments and Elections

Minnesota’s constitution and state statutes allow for both the appointment and election of judges. The state constitution provides that judges “shall be elected from the area in which they serve.” In the event of a mid-term vacancy, the Governor will fill the position with the advice of the Commission on Judicial Selection.

Length of Terms

District Court judges serve six-year terms. Terms for Supreme Court justices and judges on the Court of Appeals are six years. Judges must be currently licensed to practice law in Minnesota. State statute provides that judicial elections are nonpartisan; no party designation is listed on the ballot. Incumbency is noted on the ballot.

Learn more about Minnesota's Courts 

Qualities of a Good Judge

Judges must be able to decide cases competently, fairly and in a way that inspires public confidence. Judges must be able to set aside their own preconceived notions in order to decide cases according to the law as it exists and according to the facts of the individual cases, not their own personal opinions.

The Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection recommends judges based on:

  • Integrity
  • Maturity
  • Health (if job related)
  • Judicial temperament
  • Legal knowledge
  • Ability
  • Experience
  • Community service

Learn More

Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection

Copyright 2014 League of Women Voters Minnesota (LWV Minnesota)