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Judges in America are chosen or elected from the ranks of lawyers, and not, as in some other countries, taken from a specially trained civil service.

Each of the 50 American states has its own judiciary system, subject to federal law and constitutional protections. State judges are in some cases appointed, in others elected. Some state and local courts exist to meet specialized needs: criminal law, civil law, matrimonial law, tax law, estate law, land and water rights, to name just a few. Each state has a system of appeals courts, in some cases covering several levels of appeals.

For information on the federal judiciary, see the section on the judicial branch of the federal government.

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