Official Voter Information Guide

About Judicial Retention Elections

Justices of the California Supreme Court and California Courts of Appeal serve 12-year terms in office.

When a state Supreme Court or Court of Appeal justice is near the end of a term in office, voters are asked to decide if the justice will be retained (continue to serve) for an additional term. This is known as a retention election.

In retention elections, justices do not run against opposing candidates. If a justice receives a majority of "yes" votes, the justice may remain in his or her position. If a justice receives a majority of "no" votes, the justice will complete his or her current term, then a new justice will be appointed by the governor.

State Supreme Court justices hold statewide office so all California voters participate in Supreme Court retention elections. Background information on each of the Supreme Court justices up for retention election this November is available on page 91. For additional information about the California Supreme Court justices, visit or

Courts of Appeal justices serve in one of six districts in California. Only registered voters within an appellate district are asked to determine if the justices of that district will be retained. For information about the Court of Appeal justices up for retention election in your district in November, visit or