State supreme court

In the United States, a state supreme court (known by other names in some states) is the ultimate judicial tribunal in the court system of a particular state (i.e., that state's court of last resort). On matters of state law, the decisions of a state supreme court are considered final and binding on state and even United States federal courts.

Generally, the state supreme court, like most appellate tribunals, is exclusively for hearing appeals of legal issues. It does not make any finding of facts, and thus holds no trials. In the case where the trial court made an egregious error in its finding of facts, the state supreme court will remand to the trial court for a new trial. This responsibility of correcting the errors of inferior courts is the origin of a number of the different names for supreme courts in various state court systems.

The court consists of a panel of judges selected by methods outlined in the state constitution. State supreme courts are completely distinct from any United States federal courts located within the geographical boundaries of a state's territory, or the federal United States Supreme Court (although appeals, on some issues, from judgments of a state's highest court can be sought in the U.S. Supreme Court).

Appellate jurisdiction

Under American federalism, a state supreme court's ruling on a matter of purely state law is final and binding and must be accepted in both state and federal courts. Where applicable, state supreme courts also apply federal law.

Federal appellate review of state supreme court rulings on federal matters may be sought by way of a petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States. As the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins (1938), no part of the federal Constitution actually grants federal courts or the federal Congress the power to directly dictate the content of state law (as distinguished from creating altogether separate federal law that in a particular situation may override state law). Clause 1 of Section 2 of Article Three of the United States Constitution describes the scope of federal judicial power, but only extended it to "the Laws of the United States" and not the laws of the several or individual states. It is this silence on that latter issue that gave rise to the American distinction between state and federal common law not found in other English-speaking common law federations like Australia and Canada.

One of the informal traditions of the American legal system, derived from the common law, is that all litigants are guaranteed at least one appeal after a final judgment on the merits. However, appeal is merely a privilege provided by statute in 47 states and in federal judicial proceedings; the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that there is no federal constitutional right to an appeal.[1]

Since a few states lack intermediate appellate courts, the state supreme court may operate under "mandatory review", in which it must hear all appeals from the trial courts. This was the case, for example, in Nevada (prior to 2014). Such judicial systems are usually very congested.[2]

Most state supreme courts have implemented "discretionary review," like their federal counterpart. Under such a system, intermediate appellate courts are entrusted with deciding the vast majority of appeals. Intermediate appellate courts generally focus on the mundane task of what appellate specialists call "error correction,"[3] which means their primary task is to decide whether the record reflects that the trial court correctly applied existing law.

For certain limited categories of cases, the state supreme court still operates under mandatory review, usually with regard to cases involving the interpretation of the state constitution or capital punishment. But for the vast majority, the state supreme court possesses the discretion to grant certiorari (known as review in states that discourage the use of Latin). These cases usually pertain to issues which different appellate courts within its jurisdiction have decided differently, or highly controversial cases involving a completely new legal issue never seen in that state. In other words, once the state supreme court is able to offload the tedious burden of error correction to intermediate courts, it can then focus on the long-term task (i.e., a policymaking role) of developing a coherent body of case law for the people of its state.

Iowa, Oklahoma, and Nevada have a unique procedure for appeals. In those states, all appeals are filed with the appropriate Supreme Court (Iowa has a single Supreme Court, while Oklahoma has separate civil and criminal Supreme Courts) which then keeps all cases of first impression for itself to decide. It forwards the remaining cases – which deal with points of law it has already addressed – to the intermediate Court of Appeals. Under this so-called "push-down" or "deflection" model of appellate procedure, the state supreme court can immediately establish final statewide precedents on important issues of first impression as soon as they arise, rather than waiting several months or years for the intermediate appellate court to make a first attempt at resolving the issue (and leaving the law uncertain in the interim).

Notably, the Supreme Court of Virginia operates under discretionary review for nearly all cases, but the intermediate Court of Appeals of Virginia hears appeals as a matter of right only in family and administrative cases. The result is that there is no first appeal of right for the vast majority of civil and criminal cases in that state. Appellants are still free to petition for review, of course, but such petitions are subject to severe length constraints (6,125 words or 35 pages in Virginia) and necessarily are more narrowly targeted than a long opening appellate brief to an intermediate appellate court (in contrast, an opening brief to a California intermediate appellate court can run up to 14,000 words). In turn, the vast majority of decisions of Virginia circuit courts in civil and criminal cases are thereby insulated from appellate review on the merits.

New Hampshire and West Virginia formerly also provided only discretionary review for nearly all cases, even though they had no intermediate appellate court. Both states gradually recognized that even if this arrangement did not offend the federal Constitution, it was unduly harsh for hapless appellants, and transitioned to mandatory review, respectively, in 2004[4] and 2010.[5][6]

Influence of the federal Supreme Court on the state supreme courts

As noted above, the U.S. Supreme Court may hear appeals from state supreme courts only if there is a question of law under the United States Constitution (which includes issues arising from federal treaties, statutes, or regulations), and those appeals are heard at the Court's sole discretion (that is, only if the Court grants a petition for writ of certiorari).

In theory, state supreme courts are bound by the precedent established by the U.S. Supreme Court as to all issues of federal law, but in practice, the Supreme Court reviews very few decisions from state courts. For example, in 2007 the Court reviewed 244 cases appealed from federal courts and only 22 from state courts. Despite the relatively small number of decisions reviewed, Professors Sara Benesh and Wendy Martinek found that state supreme courts follow precedent more closely than federal courts in the area of search and seizure and appear to follow precedent in confessions as well.[7]


Traditionally, state supreme courts are headquartered in the capital cities of their respective states,[8] though they may occasionally hold oral arguments elsewhere. The seven main exceptions are:

  • Alaska, whose supreme court is located in and usually sits in its largest city, Anchorage (monthly), but also sits in Fairbanks and Juneau (quarterly), and in other Alaskan communities on an as-needed basis.
  • California, whose supreme court is headquartered in San Francisco and maintains only branch offices in the state capital, Sacramento, and the state's largest city, Los Angeles, and hears argument at all three locations each year.
  • Delaware, whose supreme court is located in Wilmington.
  • Louisiana, whose supreme court is headquartered in New Orleans' French Quarter.
  • Maine, whose supreme court is headquartered in Portland.
  • Pennsylvania, whose supreme court has facilities at three coequal locations of Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
  • Tennessee, whose state constitution requires its supreme court to sit at three coequal locations of Nashville, Knoxville, and Jackson.

As for the court's actual facilities, a state supreme court may be housed in the state capitol, in a nearby state office building shared with other courts or state executive branch agencies, or in a small courthouse reserved for its exclusive use. State supreme courts normally require a courtroom for oral argument, private chambers for all justices, a conference room, offices for law clerks and other support staff, a law library, and a lobby with a window where the court clerk can accept filings and release new decisions in the form of "slip opinions" (that is, in looseleaf format held together only by a staple).


Court of Appeals

Because state supreme courts generally hear only appeals, some courts have names which directly indicate their function – in the states of New York and Maryland, and in the District of Columbia, the highest court is called the "Court of Appeals". In New York, the "Supreme Court" is the trial court of general unlimited jurisdiction and the intermediate appellate court is called the "Supreme Court—Appellate Division". Maryland's jury trial courts are called "Circuit Courts" (non-jury trials are usually conducted by the "District Courts," whose decisions may be appealed to the Circuit Courts), and the intermediate appellate court is called the "Court of Special Appeals". West Virginia mixes the two; its highest court is called the "Supreme Court of Appeals".

Other states' supreme courts have used the term "Appeals": New Jersey's supreme courts under the 1844 constitution and Delaware's supreme court were both the "Court of Errors and Appeals"; The term "Errors" refers to the now-obsolete writ of error, which was used by state supreme courts to correct certain types of egregious errors committed by lower courts.

Older terminology

Massachusetts and New Hampshire originally named their highest courts the "Superior Court of Judicature." Currently, Massachusetts uses the names "Supreme Judicial Court" (to distinguish itself from the state legislature, which is called the Massachusetts General Court), while New Hampshire uses the name "Supreme Court". Additionally the highest court in Maine is named the "Supreme Judicial Court". This similar terminology is probably a holdover from the time when Maine was part of Massachusetts. In Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, the highest courts formerly used variations of the term "Court of Errors," which indicated that the court's primary purpose was to correct the errors of lower courts.

Dual supreme courts

Oklahoma and Texas have two separate supreme courts: one for criminal appeals and one for civil cases. In both states, the first is formally called the Court of Criminal Appeals, and the second is called the Supreme Court.


Term length
6 years 15 states
7 years Maine
8 years 11 states
10 years 13 states
12 years 5 states
14 years New York
Life tenure 4 states
Number of members
Five justices 16 states
Seven justices 28 states
Nine justices 6 states

Texas and Oklahoma have dual supreme courts. In Texas, both have nine justices. In Oklahoma the Supreme Court has nine justices and the Court of Criminal Appeals has five (assimilated to nine in the above table).

Thirty-two states have mandatory retirement ages for justices, nearly all from 70 to 75 years old. It varies whether justices must retire on their birthday, at the end of that year, or the end of that term in which they reach the retirement age. Rhode Island is the only state with neither terms for reelection or retention or a retirement age.


Judges are either appointed, selected through a merit process (with an election thereafter in some cases), or elected. The elections may be through partisan or nonpartisan elections. A nonpartisan election does not mean that the judges run and are selected with no regard to political beliefs. In many cases nonpartisan election merely means the prospective judges' parties are not printed on the ballot. Political contributions to these campaigns may be allowed, including from trade associations and political action committees.[9] The plurality of states (14) follow the Missouri Plan, in which the governor makes an appointment from selection of candidates put forward by a judicial nominating commission. Gubernatorial appointments are typically subject to regular retention elections.

Mode of selection
Partisan election 7 states
Nonpartisan election 15 states
Missouri Plan 14 states
Appointment by governor with collegial body consent 12 states
Elected by state legislature 2 states

Partisan affiliation

Of the seven states that elect justices in partisan elections, Democrats have a majority in four and Republicans in three. Although Michigan and Ohio have nonpartisan general elections, candidates are nominated by parties; Republicans hold a majority in both states.

In other states with contested elections, ideological leanings may be ascertained from statements, endorsements, and donations. Judges appointed by governors typically share the partisanship or ideology of that governor, but this relationship may be constrained by the makeup of a nominating commission or confirmation body.



Name and state Mode of selection Term
Retirement age[10] Number of
Partisan breakdown
Supreme Court of Alabama Partisan election 6 70 9 9R–0D
Alaska Supreme Court Missouri Plan 10 70 5
Arizona Supreme Court Missouri Plan 6 70 7
Arkansas Supreme Court Non-partisan election 10 7
Supreme Court of California Appointment by the Governor with agreement of the California Commission on Judicial Appointments 12 7
Colorado Supreme Court Missouri Plan 10 72 7
Connecticut Supreme Court Missouri Plan 8 70 7
Delaware Supreme Court Appointment by the Governor with agreement of Delaware Senate 12 5 5D–0R†
Florida Supreme Court Missouri Plan 6 70 7
Supreme Court of Georgia Non-partisan election 6 9
Supreme Court of Hawaii Appointment by the Governor with agreement of Hawaii State Senate 10 70 5 4D–1R†
Idaho Supreme Court Non-partisan election 6 5
Supreme Court of Illinois Partisan election 10 75 7 4D–3R
Supreme Court of Indiana Missouri Plan 10 75 5
Iowa Supreme Court Missouri Plan 8 72 7
Kansas Supreme Court Missouri Plan 6 75 7
Kentucky Supreme Court Non-partisan election 8 7
Louisiana Supreme Court Partisan election 10 70 7 4R–3D
Maine Supreme Judicial Court Appointment by the Governor with agreement of Maine Senate 7 7 3D–2I–2R†
Maryland Court of Appeals Appointment by the Governor with agreement of Maryland Senate 10 70 7
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Appointment by the Governor with agreement of Massachusetts Governor's Council Life[11] 70 7 5R–2D†
Michigan Supreme Court Non-partisan election 8 70 7 4R-3D
Minnesota Supreme Court Non-partisan election 6 70 7
Supreme Court of Mississippi Non-partisan election 8 9
Supreme Court of Missouri Missouri Plan 12 70 7
Montana Supreme Court Non-partisan election 8 7
Nebraska Supreme Court Missouri Plan 6 7
Supreme Court of Nevada Non-partisan election 6 7
New Hampshire Supreme Court Appointment by the Governor with agreement of Executive Council of New Hampshire Life 70 7 3D–2R†
New Jersey Supreme Court Appointment by the Governor with agreement of New Jersey Senate 7, then until 70 70 7
New Mexico Supreme Court Partisan election 8 5 4D–1R
New York Court of Appeals Appointment by the Governor with agreement of New York State Senate 14 70 7 7D–0R†
North Carolina Supreme Court Partisan election 8 72 7 5D–2R
North Dakota Supreme Court Non-partisan election 10 5
Ohio Supreme Court Non-partisan election 6 70 7 5R–2D
Supreme Court of Oklahoma
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals
Missouri Plan 6 9
Oregon Supreme Court Non-partisan election 6 75 7
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Partisan election 10 75 7 5D–2R
Rhode Island Supreme Court Appointment by the Governor with agreement of Rhode Island General Assembly (both houses) Life 5 5R–0D†
South Carolina Supreme Court Elected by South Carolina General Assembly 10 72 5
South Dakota Supreme Court Missouri Plan 8 70 5
Tennessee Supreme Court Appointment by the Governor with agreement of Tennessee General Assembly 8 5 3R–2D†
Supreme Court of Texas
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Partisan election 6 74 9


Utah Supreme Court Missouri Plan 10 75 5
Vermont Supreme Court Appointed by governor, with retention vote every 6 years by a majority vote of the Vermont General Assembly 6 90 5 3D–2R†
Supreme Court of Virginia Elected by Virginia General Assembly 12 70 7
Washington Supreme Court Non-partisan election 6 75 9
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Non-partisan election 12 5
Wisconsin Supreme Court Non-partisan election 10 7
Wyoming Supreme Court Missouri Plan 8 70 5

†Partisanship reflects the parties of the appointing governors

Territories and federal district

Name and territory or federal district Mode of selection Term
Number of
Retirement age
High Court of American Samoa Appointment by the United States Secretary of the Interior During good behavior 2
District of Columbia Court of Appeals Appointment by the President with the advice and consent of the United States Senate 15 9 74
Supreme Court of Guam Appointment by the Governor with the confirmation of the Legislature of Guam During good behavior, subject to a retention election every ten years after his or her appointment 3
Northern Mariana Islands Supreme Court Appointment by the Governor with the confirmation of the Senate of the Northern Mariana Islands 8 3
Supreme Court of Puerto Rico Appointment by the Governor with the confirmation of the Senate of Puerto Rico Mandatory retirement at age 70 9
Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands Appointment by the Governor with the confirmation of the Legislature of the Virgin Islands Initial 10, with a term of good behavior upon reconfirmation 3

Tribal supreme courts

  • Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (formerly the Judicial Appeals Tribunal)
  • Supreme Court of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (North Carolina)[12]
  • Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation (formerly the "Court of Appeals")

See also


  1. ^ Smith v. Robbins, 528 U.S. 259, 270 n.5 (2000) ("[t]he Constitution does not . . . require states to create appellate review in the first place"); M.L.B. v. S.L.J., 519 U.S. 102, 110 (1996) ("the Federal Constitution guarantees no right to appellate review").
  2. ^ Valerie Miller, "Judges renew their call for appeals court," Las Vegas Business Press 19, no. 3 (January 21, 2002): 1.
  3. ^ G. Alan Tarr, Judicial Process and Judicial Policymaking, 6th ed. (Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2012), 37 and 139.
  4. ^ "Supreme Court - Judicial Duties". New Hampshire Judicial Branch. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  5. ^ Stoneking, Jay (October 1, 2014). "State of West Virginia v. McKinley". West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Blog. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  6. ^ "Rules of Appellate Procedure - Part III". West Virginia Judiciary. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  7. ^ Sara C. Benesh and Wendy L. Martinek, "Context and Compliance: A Comparison of State Supreme Courts and the Circuits" 93 Marq. L. Rev. 795 (2009).
  8. ^ Edwards, Linda L.; Edwards, J. Stanley (2002). Introduction to Paralegal Studies and the Law: A Practical Approach. Albany, NY: Delmar. p. 124. ISBN 9780766835894. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  9. ^ Big Business Taking over State Supreme Courts: How Campaign Contributions to Judges Tip the Scales Against Individuals.
  10. ^ "Most states require judges to step down after 70 | National Center for State Courts". Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  11. ^ "Massachusetts Court System - About the Supreme Judicial Court". Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  12. ^ EBCI Tribal Court website
2004 Washington State Supreme Court election

Washington State's Supreme Court has 9 members elected at large. In 2004, 3 members of the court were up for election.

2006 Washington State Supreme Court election

The Washington Supreme Court justices are elected at large by the voters of the state of Washington. The general election was held in November 2006 and the primary was held in September 2006.

2008 Washington State Supreme Court election

The Washington Supreme Court justices are elected at large by the voters of the state of Washington. The general election was held in November 4, 2008.

2012 Washington State Supreme Court election

The Washington State Supreme Court justices are elected at large by the voters of the state of Washington on November 6, 2012.

Arizona Supreme Court

The Arizona Supreme Court is the state supreme court of the U.S. state of Arizona. Sitting in the Supreme Court building in downtown Phoenix, the court consists of a chief justice, a vice chief justice, and five associate justices. Each justice is appointed by the governor of Arizona from a list recommended by a bipartisan commission. Justices stand for retention in an election two years after their appointment and then every six years. They must retire at age 70.

The Chief Justice is chosen for a five-year term by the court, and is eligible for re-election. He or she supervises the administration of all the inferior courts. He or she is Chairman of the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, which nominates candidates to fill vacancies in the appellate courts. If the Governor fails to appoint one of the nominated candidates within sixty days of their names being submitted to her or him, the Chief Justice makes the appointment.

The Vice Chief Justice, who acts as Chief Justice in the latter's "absence or incapacity," is chosen by the court for a term determined by the court.The jurisdiction of the court is prescribed by Article VI, Section 5 of the Arizona Constitution. Most of the appeals heard by the court go through the Arizona Court of Appeals, except for death penalty cases, over which the Arizona Supreme Court has sole appellate jurisdiction. The court also has original jurisdiction in a few other circumstances as outlined in the Arizona Constitution. A quorum is three, but the whole court must sit in order to declare a law unconstitutional.

Arkansas Supreme Court

The Arkansas Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of Arkansas. Since 1925, it has consisted of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices, and at times Special Justices are called upon in the absence of a regular justice. The Justices are elected in a non-partisan election for eight-year-long terms that are staggered to make it unlikely that the entire court would be replaced in a single election. Any vacancy caused by a Justice not finishing his or her term is filled by an appointment made by the Governor of Arkansas.The current Arkansas Supreme Court consists of:

Chief Justice John Dan Kemp

Associate Justice Robin F. Wynne (Position 2)

Associate Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson (Position 3)

Associate Justice Josephine L. Hart (Position 4)

Associate Justice Shawn A. Womack (Position 5)

Associate Justice Karen R. Baker (Position 6)

Associate Justice Rhonda K. Wood (Position 7)Under the state's first constitution, the Arkansas Supreme Court consisted of three judges including one Chief Justice, and all three of whom were elected by the Arkansas General Assembly. The first judges elected to the court by the Assembly were Daniel Ringo as Chief Justice (who served from 1836 to 1844), Townsend Dickinson (who served until 1842), and Thomas J. Lacy (whose term lasted until 1845).

No change to the court's size occurred after Reconstruction, but the Arkansas Constitution of 1874 was amended in 1924 (Amendment 9) to add two more judges and allow the Assembly to increase the number to seven, which it did a year later by Act 205 of 1925.

List of female state supreme court justices

Below is a list of the names of the first woman to sit on the highest court of their respective states in the United States.

The first state with a female justice was Ohio; Florence Ellinwood Allen was named to the bench in 1923.

Minnesota Supreme Court

The Minnesota Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The court hears cases in the Supreme Court chamber in the Minnesota State Capitol or in the nearby Minnesota Judicial Center.

New York Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the State of New York is the trial-level court of general jurisdiction in the New York State Unified Court System. (Its Appellate Division is also the highest intermediate appellate court.) It is vested with unlimited civil and criminal jurisdiction, although outside New York City it acts primarily as a court of civil jurisdiction, with most criminal matters handled in County Court.The Court is radically different from its counterparts in nearly all other states in two important ways. First, the Supreme Court is a trial court and is not the highest court in the state. The highest court of the State of New York is the Court of Appeals. Second, although it is a trial court, the Supreme Court sits as a "single great tribunal of general state-wide jurisdiction, rather than an aggregation of separate courts sitting in the several counties or judicial districts of the state." There is a branch of the Supreme Court in each of New York's 62 counties.

North Carolina Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the State of North Carolina is the state's highest appellate court. Until the creation of the North Carolina Court of Appeals in the 1960s, it was the state's only appellate court. The Supreme Court consists of six associate justices and one chief justice, although the number of justices has varied from time to time. The primary function of the Supreme Court is to decide questions of law that have arisen in the lower courts and before state administrative agencies.

Oregon Supreme Court

The Oregon Supreme Court (OSC) is the highest state court in the U.S. state of Oregon. The only court that may reverse or modify a decision of the Oregon Supreme Court is the Supreme Court of the United States. The OSC holds court at the Oregon Supreme Court Building in Salem, Oregon, near the capitol building on State Street. The building was finished in 1914 and also houses the state's law library, while the courtroom is also used by the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Tracing its heritage to 1841 when Oregon pioneers selected a Supreme Judge with probate powers, the court has grown from a single judge to its current make up of seven justices. Justices of the court serve six-year terms upon election, however vacancies are filled by appointments of the Governor of Oregon until the next general election when any qualified candidate may run for the position, including the appointee. These seven justices then select one member to serve a six-year term as Chief Justice. The court's Chief Justice is not only responsible for assigning cases to the other justices to write the court's opinions, but is also the chief executive of the Oregon Judicial Department.

Primarily an appeals court, the Oregon Supreme Court is also the court of last resort in Oregon. Although most oral arguments before the court are held in the Oregon Supreme Court Building, the court does travel around the state holding sessions in various schools. All cases are heard en banc by the court. It receives appeals from the Oregon Tax Court, the Oregon Court of Appeals, and some select cases such as death penalty appeals. Decisions of the court are published in the Oregon Reporter published by the Oregon Judicial Department. The Territorial Supreme Court was created in 1848 when the Oregon Territory was formed out of the old Oregon Country region, followed by the creation of the State Supreme Court in 1859 when Oregon was admitted to the Union on February 14.

South Carolina Supreme Court

The South Carolina Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The court is composed of a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices.

Supreme Court of Georgia (U.S. state)

The Supreme Court of Georgia is the highest judicial authority of the U.S. state of Georgia. The court was established in 1845 as a three-member panel. Since 1896, the justices (increased in number to six, then to seven in 1945, and finally to nine in 2017) have been elected by the people of the state. The justices are currently elected in statewide non-partisan elections for six-year terms, with any vacancies filled through an appointment by the Governor.The first Chief Justice of the Court was Joseph Henry Lumpkin, who was appointed to that position in 1863. Under the current Constitution of Georgia, the Chief Justice is designated as "the chief presiding and administrative officer of the court," and is elected by the justices. The justices also elect a Presiding Justice to serve if the Chief Justice is absent or is disqualified. As of 2019, the current Chief Justice of the Court is Harold Melton, and the current Presiding Justice is David Nahmias. Both justices were sworn into their respective positions on September 4, 2018.

Supreme Court of Hawaii

The Supreme Court of Hawaii is the highest court of the State of Hawaii in the United States. Its decisions are binding on all other courts of the Hawaii State Judiciary. The principal purpose of the Supreme Court is to review the decisions of the trial courts in which appeals have been granted. Appeals are decided by the members of the Supreme Court based on written records and in some cases may grant oral arguments in the main Supreme Court chamber. Like its mainland United States counterparts, the Supreme Court does not take evidence and uses only evidence provided in previous trials.

The court meets in Aliʻiōlani Hale in Honolulu.

Supreme Court of Illinois

The Supreme Court of Illinois is the state supreme court, the highest court of the state of Illinois. The court's authority is granted in Article VI of the current Illinois Constitution, which provides for seven justices elected from the five appellate judicial districts of the state: three justices from the First District (Cook County) and one from each of the other four districts. Each justice is elected for a term of ten years and the chief justice is elected by the court from its members for a three-year term.

Supreme Court of Ohio

The Supreme Court of Ohio is the highest court in the U.S. state of Ohio, with final authority over interpretations of Ohio law and the Ohio Constitution. The court has seven members, a chief justice and six associate justices, each serving six-year terms and a total of 1550 other employees. Since 2004, the court has met in the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center (formerly known as the Ohio Departments Building) on the east bank of the Scioto River in downtown Columbus. Prior to 2004, the court met in the James A. Rhodes State Office Tower and earlier in the Judiciary Annex (now the Senate Building) of the Ohio Statehouse.

The Ohio Supreme Court and the rest of the judiciary is established and authorized within Article IV of the Ohio Constitution.

Utah Supreme Court

The Utah Supreme Court is the supreme court of the state of Utah, United States. It has final authority of interpretation of the Utah Constitution. The Utah Supreme Court is composed of five members: a chief justice, an associate chief justice, and three justices. All justices are appointed by the governor of Utah, with confirmation by the Utah Senate. The five justices vote among themselves for the position of chief justice and associate chief justice, who each serve a term of four years.

Washington Supreme Court

The Washington Supreme Court is the highest court in the judiciary of the US state of Washington. The Court is composed of a Chief Justice and eight Justices. Members of the Court are elected to six-year terms. Justices must retire at the end of the calendar year in which they reach the age of 75, per the Washington State Constitution.The Chief Justice is chosen by secret ballot by the Justices to serve a 4-year term. The current Chief Justice is Mary Fairhurst who was elected by her peers on November 3, 2016. Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst was sworn in on January 9, 2017, and succeeds Barbara Madsen, one of the longest-serving Chief Justices in Washington state history.

Prior to January 1997 (pursuant to a Constitutional amendment adopted in 1995) the post of Chief Justice was held for a 2-year term by a justice who (i) was one of the Justices with 2 years left in their term, (ii) was the most senior in years of service of that cohort, and (iii) (generally) had not previously served as Chief Justice. The last Chief Justice under the rotation system, Barbara Durham was the architect of the present internal election system, and was the first to be elected under the new procedure, serving until her resignation in 1999.

The court convenes in the Temple of Justice, a historic building on the Washington State Capitol campus in Olympia, Washington.

The persuasiveness of the Court's decisions reaches far beyond Washington's borders. A Supreme Court of California study published in 2007 found that the Washington Supreme Court's decisions were the second most widely followed by the appellate courts of all other US states in the period from 1940 to 2005 (second only to California).

Chief justices of state supreme courts
Highest judicial bodies in the United States
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