The state has 146 Circuit Court judges divided among 41 judicial circuits with the number of judges to each circuit set by acts of the Alabama Legislature. The legislature distribution is roughly based upon caseloads of the various circuits. The largest circuit in the state is the 10th Judicial Circuit which encompasses Jefferson County (approximately 20 % of the state's population) and is the seat of 27 of the judges. The smallest circuits are the 2nd, 3rd, 24th, 34th, 35th, 36th, 40th, and 41st which each contain just a single judge and represent many of the smallest population counties in the state.
Circuit Judges are elected to six-year terms in partisan elections with no limit on the number of terms excepting that no judge may seek re-election once he/she passes the age of seventy years. The partisan alignment of the Circuit Judges as of August, 2015 is 78 Republicans, 67 Democrats, and 1 Independent. In the event of a vacancy during a term of office, the Governor of Alabama usually has the authority to fill the unexpired terms. However, a limited number of the circuits (i.e., the 10th, 18th, 28th Circuits) have judicial commissions which submit nominess from which the Governor is obligated to choose.