An Introductory Guide to the Judicial System of Election and Appointment

A justice of the Illinois Supreme Court must be a citizen of the United States, a licensed attorney in Illinois, and a resident of the electing district and circuit. In Illinois, judges and justices are either elected or appointed.

The judicial system has three levels. The Illinois Supreme Court is the last court of appeal within the judiciary and consists of seven justices, three from the Illinois First Appellate District (Cook County); and one each from the remaining four districts. There are 24 circuits with 496 circuit court judges, as of December 31, 2015. There are 102 counties, and judicial circuits and districts may be comprised of one or more contiguous counties. [See Map of judicial circuits and appellate court districts and circuits, superimposed upon the map of counties.]