1) an official with the authority and responsibility to preside in a court, try lawsuits and make legal rulings. judges are almost always attorneys. in some states, “justices of the peace” may need only to pass a test, and federal and state “administrative law judges” are often lawyer or non-lawyer hearing officers specializing in the subject matter upon which they are asked to rule. the word “court” often refers to the judge, as in the phrase “the court found the defendant at fault,” or “may it please the court,” when addressing the judge. the word “bench” also refers to the judge or judges in general. judges on appeals courts are usually called “justices.” judges of courts established by a state at the county, district, city or township level, gain office by election, by appointment by the governor or by some judicial selection process in case of a vacancy. federal judges are appointed for life by the president of the united states with confirmation by the u.s. senate. a senator of the same party as the president has considerable clout in recommending federal judges from his/her home state. 2) to rule on a legal matter, including determining the result in a trial if there is no jury.