California Judicial Branch

California Government's Three Co-Equal Branches

In California, as in the federal government, the power to govern is divided among three equal branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial.

The executive branch of government executes the laws enacted by the Legislature. Supreme executive power of the State of California is vested in the Governor. The Governor has authority not only to appoint positions throughout the executive branch, but also to make judicial appointments subject to the Legislature's approval.

The legislative branch of government is the State's law-making authority. The California State Legislature is made up of two houses: the Senate and the Assembly. There are 40 Senators and 80 Assembly members representing the people of the State of California.

The judicial branch of government is charged with interpreting the laws of the State of California. It provides for the orderly settlement of disputes between parties in controversy, determines the guilt or innocence of those accused of violating laws, and protects the rights of individuals. The California court system, the nation's largest, serves over 39 million people with more than 2,000 judicial officers and 18,000 court employees. The head of the judicial branch is the Chief Justice of California.

The Courts

California Supreme Court
Courts of Appeal
Superior Courts

Branch Administration and Policy

Judicial Council of California

Branch Agencies

Commission on Judicial Appointments
Commission on Judicial Performance
Habeas Corpus Resource Center

State Bar of California

State Bar of California
Commission on Judicial Nominees

Additional Information

Fact Sheets
Reference Materials

© 2017 Judicial Council of California