“Judge” vs. “justice”

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The titles that magistrates who are members of a court hold vary in surprising ways. For instance, judges in some of the smallest state courts are called “justices of the peace,” and members of the U.S. Supreme Court are called “justices of the United States.” In the federal system, no one else is called “justice.” But states have peculiar rules. For example, members of Texas’ Supreme Court are called “justices” but those on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals are called “judges.”

When you read an opinion that you may later cite in your writing, you should determine whether the magistrate is a “judge” or “justice” and use that title if you refer to her in your writing.

Last Updated On December 11, 2018

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