With the exception of most municipal judges, all judges in the state of Texas are elected in partisan elections by the registered voters of the geographic areas they serve. Most municipal judges are appointed by the governing body of the municipality (e.g., a city council), although a few are elected.
The terms of office for judges in Texas vary (as one would expect) by the particular court on which they serve:
- municipal judges usually serve two year terms
- district judges, county-level judges, and justices of the peace serve four-year terms
- appellate judges serve six-year terms
Illness, personal circumstances or even misconduct (see below) may cause judges to vacate their offices before their terms are completed. Vacancies in county-level and Justice of the Peace courts are filled by appointment of the County Commissioners courts. For Municipal courts, vacancies are filled by appointment of the mayor or governing body of the city. Judicial vacancies in District and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, are filled by appointment of the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Texas Senate.