For more than 30 years Arizona citizens have benefited from a judicial merit selection and retention system. Merit selection is a way of choosing judges that uses nonpartisan commissions to investigate and evaluate applicants for judgeships. The commissions then submit the names of at least three highly qualified applicants to the Governor. The Governor appoints appellate court judges statewide and trial court judges in Maricopa and Pima and Pinal counties from lists of nominees submitted by the judicial nominating commissions.
The subject of judicial diversity has been an interesting topic of coversation for years, but the effect of diversity in Arizona courts and across the country should really only be studied from recent history. Until the mid-1970s women and minorities were virtually absent in judicial positions. The good news is that the landscape has changed substantially.
This guide describes how Arizona courts are organized, special functions of the courts and how cases are processed. It also details roles of people who work for the courts, how judges are selected, and how court employees and individual courts are assessed to make sure they are working properly.