State judges are the judges in state court systems. They are typically elected for fixed terms in the United States. In fact, in 39 states, some or all judges are elected by the people for fixed durations. This is in contrast to federal judges and British judges, who are appointed for life.
A map indicating the selection process for judges in each of the 50 states is available.
As a general rule, the weaker the democratic control over judges, the more liberal they are in their rulings. For example, the Massachusetts judges who ordered the granting of same-sex marriage licenses were not elected and do not face reelection. The New Mexico judges who interpreted its state Equal Rights Amendment as requiring taxpayer-funded abortion were initially appointed, in contrast with the elected Pennsylvania judges who ruled that its state Equal Rights Amendment does not require taxpayer-funded abortion.