judge | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

A judge is an official of the Judicial branch with the authority to decide lawsuits brought before courts.

A judge is an official of the judicial branch who has the authority to preside over and make decisions in lawsuits that are brought before a court. The role of a judge is essential to the functioning of the legal system, as they are responsible for ensuring that cases are heard fairly and that justice is served.

Judges are typically appointed or elected to their positions, depending on the jurisdiction and the level of the court. They may serve for a fixed term or for life, depending on the laws and regulations of the particular jurisdiction.

In addition to their role in deciding lawsuits, judges are also responsible for interpreting and applying the law. They are expected to have a deep understanding of the legal system and to be able to apply legal principles and precedents to the cases that come before them.

Judges are also responsible for maintaining order and decorum in the courtroom. They may issue rulings on objections raised by attorneys, instruct jurors on the law, and make determinations about the admissibility of evidence.

In some jurisdictions, judges are assisted by juries, who are responsible for determining the facts of the case. In these cases, the judge will instruct the jury on the law and then leave it to the jurors to apply the law to the facts of the case.

While their role is primarily focused on deciding lawsuits and maintaining order in the courtroom, judges also play an important role in the development of the law. Through their rulings and interpretations of the law, judges can help to shape legal precedent and influence the way that the law is applied in future cases.

Used generically, the term judge may also refer to all judicial officers, including Supreme Court justices. Supreme Court justices are the highest judges in the United States, and are responsible for interpreting the Constitution and the laws of the United States. They are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate and serve for life or until they retire or are impeached.

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Last Modified: 06/24/2021


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