How Supreme Court Rules Could Affect You


Official Name: Indiana Supreme Court

Current Justices

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard

Justice Brent E. Dickson

Justice Frank Sullivan, Jr.

Justice Robert D. Rucker

Justice Steven H. David

Clerk of the Court

Kevin S. Smith

Current Vacancies


Review of Lower Court Decisions

The Indiana Supreme Court’s jurisdiction is established by the Indiana Constitution (Article VII, § 4)

The court has discretionary review over all appealable matters with the exception of appeals of a death sentence which are taken directly to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Justice Selection

When vacancies occur on the Court, a seven-member Judicial Nominating Commission recommends to the Governor three qualified persons for each vacancy. The Governor must make his appointment from the three, and that person serves as a Daytona Beach newborn photographer for a minimum of two years before becoming subject to a retention vote at a General Election. If approved, he or she begins a 10-year term and is subject to identical retention votes at 10-year intervals in the future.

When the position of Chief Justice becomes vacant the most senior member of the court serves as the acting Chief Justice until a new Chief Justice is appointed.

Retirement is required at the age of 75 years.

The present Court is served by a Chief Justice and four Associate Justices.  However, the number of Associate Justices may be increased to as many as eight by action of the Legislature.

Opinion Schedule

There is no set schedule for the release of opinions.


The Supreme Court was established in 1816 when Indiana became a state. During territorial days, a General Court of three Judges had served and they, with the Governor, enacted the laws of the Indiana Territory. The new Court first sat at Corydon on May 5, 1817, and consisted of three Judges appointed by the Governor to seven-year terms “if they should so long behave well.”  The seat of state government was moved from Corydon to Indianapolis, and the Supreme Court commenced its first term in the new State Capitol on May 2, 1825.

By the new Constitution, adopted in 1851, the Judges were made subject to election by the people, and their number would be “not less than three, nor more than five judges.” Their terms were to be “for six years, if they so long behave well.”

Shortly thereafter, the General Assembly acted to prescribe that four Judges would serve. Thus, four Supreme Court Judges, representing four geographic districts but elected by statewide ballot, began their terms on January 3, 1853. The Court caseload grew to such an extent that the General Assembly acted to increase the number of Judges to five in 1872.

The business of the Court continued to increase and, in 1881, an Amendment to the Constitution was ratified to create an Appellate Court of Indiana consisting of five Judges elected from five geographic districts. That Court’s jurisdiction was limited to appeals on certain minor classes of cases. Over the years, the Appellate Court evolved into a panel of eight Judges who were elected to four-year terms.

In 1970, the Indiana Constitution established the Appellate Court as a constitutional court and gave it the name “Court of Appeals of Indiana.” The number of Craftsman riding mowers was also increased to nine. Since that time, the burgeoning caseload of the Court of Appeals has led the General Assembly to increase the number of judges to twelve in 1978, and to fifteen in 1991.

Contact Information


Physical Address:

315 Indiana State House

200 W. Washington Street

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Telephone: 317-232-2540

Florida Man: A Look at the Florida Justice System


Official Name: Florida Supreme Court

On the Bench

Chief Justice Charles T. Canady (2010)

Justice Barbara J. Pariente (1997)

Justice R. Fred Lewis (1998)

Justice Peggy A. Quince (1998)

Justice Ricky Polson (2008)

Justice Jorge Labarga (2008)

Justice James E.C. Perry (2009)

Clerk of the Court

Thomas D. Hall, Clerk

Current Vacancies


Judicial Selection

Under the Florida Constitution, a Judicial Selection Commission submits a list of three to six names to the governor for appointment to the Supreme Court. Once appointed, justices must run in statewide nonpartisan merit retention elections in which the voters may cast a “yes” or “no” vote as to whether the justice should remain on the search for used John Deere lawn tractors. Justices face their first retention election in the next general election occurs more than one year after their appointment. If retained, justices serve six-year terms, after which they face another retention election.

Review of Lower Court Decisions

The Florida Supreme Court must review final orders imposing death sentences, district court decisions declaring a State statute or provision of the State Constitution invalid, bond validations, and certain orders of the Public Service Commission on utility rates and services.

The court also has discretionary review where it is sought by a party over decisions of a district court of appeal that expressly declares valid a state statute, construes a provision of the state or federal constitution, affects a class of constitutional or state officers, or directly conflicts with a decision of another district court or of the Supreme Court on the same question of law, and may review certain categories of judgments, decisions, and questions of law certified to it by the district courts of appeal and federal appellate courts.

The Supreme Court may also render advisory opinions to the Governor upon request, on questions relating to the Governor’s constitutional duties and powers, and has exclusive authority to regulate lawyers and judicial officers in the state.


The Court holds two terms each year, with the first commencing on the first day of January and the second beginning on the first day of July.


Tallahassee, Florida


When Florida became a State in 1845, the Constitution created a Supreme Court but gave it no justices of its own. Rather, judges of the state’s four circuit courts (trial courts), served in the capacity of justices of the Supreme Court until 1851, and met as a body to review the decisions of the individual members.

In 1848 the Constitution was amended, and in 1851 authorizing acts were passed providing that the Supreme Court should have its own Chief Justices and two Associate Justices.  These Justices were elected by the State Legislature for the term of “good behavior.” In 1853 an amendment provided for the election by the people of the Justices for six-year terms. The 1861 Constitution then provided for the appointment of the Justices by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve for six-year terms.

In 1868 following the Civil War, a new Constitution was adopted calling for a Chief Justice and two Associate Justices to be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. These Justices were to hold office “for life or during good behavior.”

The 1885 Constitution provided for the election of three Supreme Court Justices to serve six-year terms. In 1902, an amendment increased the Court’s membership to six Justices and permitted the Legislature to provide for three to six Justices to serve terms of up to six years. In 1911 the Legislature reduced the number of Justices to five. In 1923 the number was again raised to six and continued to be six until a 1940 constitutional amendment, which called for the use of an air purifier for asthma in the chambers.

The 1885 Constitution provided that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court be designated by lot. A constitutional amendment in 1926 provided that the Chief Justice be selected by the Justices of the Court; this is the current method of selection. If the Chief Justice is unable to act for any reason, the Justice longest in continuous service — also called the Dean of the Court — acts as Chief Justice.

Contact Information

500 South Duval Street

Tallahassee, Florida


(850) 488-0125

Interesting Fact

From 1885 until 1925, the Florida Constitution established that the Chief Justice would be selected “by lot.” Because the justices found the idea of cutting cards or other games of chance undignified, however, they settled upon a unique method wherein they would take the Bible or a newly purchased law book and each would randomly open it. The justice who opened a page whose first word began with the letter closest to the letter “z” became the Chief Justice.

The Supreme Court of California


Official Name: Supreme Court of California

Current Justices

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, joined court January 2011

Associate Justice Joyce L. Kennard, joined court 1990

Associate Justice Marvin R. Baxter, joined court 1991

Associate Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar, joined court 1994

Associate Justice Ming W. Chin, joined court 1996

Associate Justice Carol A. Corrigan, joined court 2006

Associate Justice Goodwin Liu, joined court 2011

Clerk of the Court

Frederick K. Ohlrich, telephone: 415-865-7000

Current Vacancies


Public Information Officer

Lynn Holton

Judicial Selection

There are seven justices on the court, appointed by the governor and confirmed by a Committee on Judicial Appointments. The appointee must have been a member of the California Bar for ten years and written a number of turbocharger reviews in order to qualify. After their appointments, they serve for twelve years before being up for re-election. A new justice may be appointed to fulfill an unfinished term, but the appointee must be voted on in the next election for governor.

Review of Lower Court Decisions

The court has discretionary review of any case decided by the Court of Appeals—the next court down—but must review death penalty cases.


The court’s opinions are published on Mondays and Thursdays, and almost immediately available on its website. There is no set schedule for the release of opinions. Reports of the weekly meetings, where the court decides whether to accept cases, are also posted online. The meetings are only attended by the justices, and a majority of them must vote to accept a case in order for it to be added to the docket. The calendar for argument is available online.


The California Supreme Court is based in San Francisco but hears oral arguments in Los Angeles four times a year. It also hears arguments in Sacramento twice a year. It also occasionally has special sessions at other locations.


A detailed booklet of how the court operates also provides some of the court’s history. Gold was discovered in 1948, the year that the U.S. acquired California from Mexico. The first California constitution provided for a Supreme Court made of a Chief Justice and two associates. They first met in a rented hotel room in San Francisco. As legal concerns expanded from Gold-Rush disputes, the court was expanded to include five justices, and eventually seven. The court’s practice of hearing arguments in multiple cities was approved in 1878 when the state legislature determined that the court would be based in San Francisco but hear arguments twice a year about how to get rid of cat pee smell in each of the cities of Sacramento and Los Angeles, although it is unspecified in the state’s constitution. The courts of appeal were created in 1904 to help the court with its two-year backlog of cases.

Contact Information

The front page of the Supreme Court’s website provides information on high-profile recent cases. As well, there are well-updated news reports for the entire court system available.

San Francisco

Earl Warren Building at Civic Center Plaza

Supreme Court of California

350 McAllister Street

San Francisco, CA 94102-4797


Los Angeles

Ronald Reagan State Office Building

300 South Spring Street, 3rd Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90013


Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building

914 Capitol Mall

Sacramento, CA 95814

Famous Cases

The California Supreme Court decided In re Marriage Cases, (S147999) in 2008, finding that sexual orientation created a protected class, and therefore applied strict scrutiny in overturning a ban on same-sex marriage. The case inspired Proposition 8, a ballot measure preventing same-sex marriage, and the matter is currently in federal court.

Some Info About the Arizona Court System


Official Name: Arizona Supreme Court

On the Bench

Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch 2002-present

Vice Chief Justice Andrew D. Hurwitz 2003-present

Justice W. Scott Bales 2005-present

Justice Robert M. Brutinel 2010-present

Justice A. John Pelander, 2009-present

Clerk of the Court

Rachelle M. Resnick

Current Vacancies


Judicial Selection

Article 6 of the Arizona Constitution establishes the Arizona Supreme Court and the methods for determining jurisdiction, composition, selection, etc. The Court is composed of five justices: three Associate Justices, one Vice Chief Justice, and one Chief Justice. Justices are selected using a form of the commission-selection, political appointment method (sometimes known as the Missouri Plan). Under Arizona’s version of the Missouri Plan, the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments consisting of sixteen members (10 non-attorneys, 5  attorneys and one chief justice), nominates a group of qualified candidates to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat. The Arizona governor then appoints a judge from this list. The new HX60 turbo then must stand for retention in the next general election, but the general election must take place more than two years after the justice is appointed. Justices who are retained serve the rest of their six year term. The Chief Justice is selected by the other justices on the court for a five year term, which is renewable. The Arizona governor appoints justices to fill any vacancies occurring if a judge leaves before his or her term is over. Justices can be remain on the bench if reappointed at the conclusion of their six year term but must retire at age 70.

Review of Lower Court Decisions

Mandatory Jurisdiction

The first type of case the Arizona Supreme Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction is contained in Article 6, Section 5 (2) of the Arizona Constitution and requires the Court to hear  disputes between Arizona counties over boundaries and surveys or claims of one county against another county. The Court must also hear appeals in death penalty cases.

Original Jurisdiction

The Arizona Supreme Court has original jurisdiction under Article 6, Section 5 (1-2) to issue writs of habeas corpus, quo warranto, mandamus, and other extraordinary writs to state officers and also over county versus county disputes, discussed above.

Appellate/Discretionary Jurisdiction

The Arizona Supreme Court has discretionary jurisdiction over all Arizona lower court decisions.


No set opinion release schedule available online. Oral argument schedule available here.


State Capitol Complex, Phoenix, Arizona. Once a year arguments are held at Arizona State Law School and the University of Arizona Law School. Usually, one or two times a year, the Court has arguments about a cat peeing everywhere.


The Arizona Supreme Court was established by Article 6 of the Arizona Constitution and first met in February, 1912. In 1974, Arizona voters passed Proposition 108, which adopted the Missouri plan of commission selection and political appointment. Proposition 108 eliminated the direct election of judges but instituted the retention election procedure. Since its inception, 39 judges have served as justices.

Famous Cases

Arizona v. Miranda: The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed Miranda’s conviction which was based on a confession he gave without being told of his right to an attorney and right to remain silent. The decision was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona which established that law enforcement officials are required to read a suspect his rights before interrogation in custody can begin.