Supreme Court of Texas Decisions

Unlike every other state except Oklahoma, Texas divides its highest court into two entities. While the Texas Supreme Court resolves appeals of civil matters, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals resolves appeals of criminal cases. The Texas Supreme Court dates from 1836, when Texas was an independent republic that had not yet joined the U.S. In addition to holding mandatory jurisdiction over writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, it handles matters involving discipline in the legal profession and answers questions related to Texas law that have been certified from a federal appellate court.

The Supreme Court has discretionary jurisdiction over appeals of other cases. It generally focuses on cases that raise questions regarding a significant legal issue. Meanwhile, the Court of Criminal Appeals has discretionary jurisdiction over all criminal cases except those that involve a death sentence or other issues that affect the liberty of a defendant, which it must review.

To serve on the Supreme Court or the Court of Criminal Appeals, a candidate must be a resident of Texas and licensed to practice law in the state. They also must be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 35 and 74, and they must have served as an attorney or a judge for at least 10 years. Nine justices serve on each court, although no justice represents a specific judicial district. Texas uses partisan elections to elect its justices, each of whom serves a six-year term. In a partisan election, the party affiliation of the candidate appears on the ballot.

If a vacancy arises, the Governor of Texas will appoint a replacement justice to serve until the next general election. The Texas Senate must confirm the appointment if it is in session. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Presiding Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals run for those specific positions in the general election.

Browse Opinions From the Supreme Court of Texas

Recent Decisions From the Supreme Court of Texas
Northland Industries, Inc. v. Kouba (Opinion)
Date: October 23, 2020
Docket Number: 19-0835
Yowell v. Granite Operating Co. (Corrected)  
Date: October 9, 2020
Docket Number: 18-0841

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the court of appeals in this dispute over the continuing validity of an interest in a mineral lease, holding that a reserved overriding royalty inte...

Fleming v. Wilson (Per Curiam)  
Date: October 9, 2020
Docket Number: 19-0230

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's grant of summary judgment for Defendants in this breach of contract and fiduciary duty action, holding that the court of appeals...

State v. Hollins (Per Curiam)  
Date: October 7, 2020
Docket Number: 20-0729

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the Election Code did not authorize the Harris County Clerk to mail unsolicited ballot applications to all registered voters under sixty-five years of age, only some of whom were eligible to v...

In re Steven Hotze (Opinion)  
Date: October 7, 2020
Docket Number: 20-0739

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court denied Relators' petition for writ of mandamus directing the Texas Secretary of State to conduct the November 3, 2020 general election according to the statutory provisions suspended by the Texas Govern...

In re Green Party of Texas (Per Curiam)  
Date: September 18, 2020
Docket Number: 20-0708

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that three candidates for the Green Party of Texas were improperly denied access to the ballot for failure to pay a filing fee and that the court of appeals erred in declaring the candidates inelig...

IN RE TEXAS HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS PAC, ET AL. (Per Curiam)
Date: September 5, 2020
Docket Number: 20-0663
IN RE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TEXAS (Dissenting)
Date: July 13, 2020
Docket Number: 20-0525
In re Republican Party of Texas (Per Curiam)  
Date: July 13, 2020
Docket Number: 20-0525

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court dismissed for want of jurisdiction the petition for writ of mandamus brought by Republican Party of Texas (Party) directing the City of Houston and Houston First Corporation "to perform their obligation...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.