Judicial selection in Texas

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Judicial selection in the states
Judicial selection in Texas
Seal of Texas.png
Texas Supreme Court
Method:   Partisan election of judges
Term:   6 years
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Method:   Partisan election of judges
Term:   6 years
Texas Court of Appeals
Method:   Partisan election of judges
Term:   6 years
Texas District Courts
Method:   Partisan election of judges
Term:   4 years
Texas County Courts
Method:   Partisan election of judges
Term:   4 years
Texas Justice of the Peace Courts
Method:   Partisan election of judges
Term:   4 years

Judicial selection in Texas revolves around the partisan election of judges at each level of the courts.

Supreme Court

Justices of the Texas Supreme Court are elected in partisan elections to serve six year terms.

If a vacancy occurs, the governor appoints a replacement, who then must be confirmed by the Texas Senate. The justice serves for the remainder of the unexpired term.

The chief justice runs as such in the general election and is selected by the state's voters.

In order to serve on the court, the following requirements must be met:

  • be a citizen of the United States;
  • hold state residency;
  • be licensed to practice law in Texas;
  • be older than 35 and younger than 74; and
  • have practiced law or been a judge for 10 years.[1]

Court of Criminal Appeals

Summary chart of qualifications, selection, and terms of Texas courts

All aspects of a judgeship are the same on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals as on the Texas Supreme Court.[1]

Courts of Appeal

All aspects of a judgeship are the same on the Texas Court of Appeals as on the Texas Supreme Court.[1]

District Courts

The judges of the Texas District Courts compete in partisan elections for four year terms.

If a vacancy occurs, the governor appoints a replacement to fill the remainder of the unexpired term, with approval by the Texas Senate.

In order to serve on the court, the following qualifications must be met:

  • be a citizen of the United States;
  • hold state residency;
  • hold residency in the judicial district for two years;
  • be licensed to practice law in Texas;
  • be older than 25 and younger than 74; and
  • have practiced law or been a judge for four years.[1]

County Courts

The county courts encompass two categories of judgeships; Texas Constitutional County Courts and judgeships created by statute, including the Texas Statutory Probate Courts and Texas County Courts at Law.

Many aspects of the judgeships are the same. Both the constitutional and statutory judges are elected in partisan elections, are elected in the county they serve, and serve four year terms, with vacancies filled by a vote of the county commissioners.

Judges of the Constitutional County Courts need not have a law license, and the only qualification for office is that a candidate "shall be well informed in the law of the State." All of Texas' 254 counties have a Constitutional County Court, and the judges serve ex officio as the head of each county's commissioners' court. These judges have original jurisdiction of all civil actions between $200 and $10,000, probate matters, juvenile matters, and appeals de novo from justice courts and municipal courts, or appeals on the record from municipal courts of record. Additionally, these judges exercise exclusive jurisdiction over misdemeanors with fines greater than $500 or which may be punished with incarceration in the county jail. In counties where there are no Statutory County Courts and the judge is a nonlawyer, misdemeanors may be transferred to a District Court having jurisdiction over that county, at the discretion of the judge.

Statutory County Courts (County Courts at Law) are established by the Legislature (currently 233 courts in 84 counties), and exercise the same civil, criminal, original, and appellate jurisdiction as Constitutional County Courts (in many counties with Statutory County Courts, particularly in counties where the judge of the Constitutional County Court is a non-lawyer, the Statutory County Courts handle all misdemeanor matters). Additionally, Statutory County Court judges have civil jurisdiction over actions with greater maximum dollar amounts (generally up to $100,000, but some courts by statute may have higher maximum jurisdiction).

Statutory Probate Courts are also established by the Legislature (currently 18 courts in 10 counties), and their jurisdiction is limited primarily to probate matters.

If interested in the Texas County Courts at Law or the Texas Statutory Probate Courts, one must:

  • be at least 25 years of age;
  • a resident of the county for at least two years; and
  • have practiced law or served as a judge for the four years preceeding election.[2]

Justice of the Peace Courts

The members of the Texas Justice of the Peace Courts are elected in partisan elections and serve four year terms. They are elected in a precinct-wide election.[2]

Municipal Courts

The rules regarding judges of the Texas Municipal Courts vary by each city's charter. The majority of the judges are appointed to a two year term by the city's governing body.[2]

See also

External links

References

TexasUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of TexasUnited States District Court for the Western District of TexasUnited States District Court for the Northern District of TexasUnited States District Court for the Southern District of TexasUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of TexasUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of TexasUnited States bankruptcy court, Northern District of TexasUnited States bankruptcy court, Southern District of TexasUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fifth CircuitTexas Supreme CourtTexas Court of AppealsTexas Court of Criminal AppealsTexas District CourtsTexas County CourtsTexas County Courts at LawTexas Statutory Probate CourtsTexas Justice of the Peace CourtsTexas Municipal CourtsTexas countiesTexas judicial newsTexas judicial electionsJudicial selection in TexasTexasTemplate.jpg