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.
Li v. Pemberton Park Community Ass'n (Per Curiam)
Date: October 1, 2021
Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of the Pemberton Park Community Association (Association) on its complaint agai...
In re Texan Millwork (Per Curiam)
Date: October 1, 2021
Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court conditionally granted Relator's mandamus petition seeking relief from an order of the trial court compelling Relator to produce a certain witness for oral deposition, holding that the trial court abused...
In re Guardianship of Jones (Per Curiam)
Date: September 17, 2021
Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals dismissing the appeal in this bill-of-review proceeding for want of jurisdiction, holding that the court of appeals erred in ruling that the trial court's o...
Concho Resources, Inc. v. Ellison (Corrected)
Date: September 3, 2021
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 trespass-to-try-title suit between the lessees of adjacent mineral estates, hol...
In re Petricek (Opinion)
Date: September 1, 2021
Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court conditionally granted mandamus relief and directed the Austin City Council to revise the ballot language for a proposed ordinance that would establish minimum standards for the Austin Police Department...
In re Abbott (Opinion)
Date: August 17, 2021
Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court conditionally granted Petitioner's petition for a writ of mandamus and directed the district court to rescind a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the district court prohibiting the Governor an...
In re Turner (Per Curiam)
Date: August 9, 2021
Justia Opinion Summary: In this matter concerning the general appropriations bill for the next biennium beginning September 1, 2021 the Supreme Court denied Relators' request for a writ of mandamus asserting that the Governor's veto of the Legi...
In re Centerpoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC (Plurality)
Date: June 30, 2021
Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court denied CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC's petition for writ of mandamus in this negligence action, holding that the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) did not have exclusive jurisdiction to a...
Luciano v. SprayFoamPolymers.com, LLC (Opinion)
Date: June 25, 2021
Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's denial of SprayFoamPolymers.com LLC's special appearance contesting personal jurisdiction, holding that the court of appeals err...
Apache Corp. v. Davis (Opinion)
Date: June 25, 2021
Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court against Employer on Employee's claim of retaliation based on the jury's finding that Employer discharged Employee...