Texas Supreme Court

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The Texas Supreme Court is the court of last resort for non-criminal matters (including juvenile delinquency which the law considers to be a civil matter and not criminal) in the state of Texas. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the court of last resort for criminal matters.

The Court is composed of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices. The Court meets in Austin, Texas in a building located on the state Capitol grounds, behind the Texas capitol.

Texas Supreme Court rulings on ballot measures

Year Type Ballot measure Legal issue Plaintiff Defendant Court ruling Impact
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Regulation of the legal profession in Texas

By law the Texas Supreme Court has administrative control over the State Bar of Texas, an agency of the judiciary (see Tex. Gov’t Code section 81.011). The Texas Supreme Court has the sole authority to license attorneys in Texas (see Tex. Gov't Code sections 81.061 and 82.021), and also appoints the members of the Board of Law Examiners (see Tex. Gov't Code section 82.001) which, under instructions of the Supreme Court, administers the Texas bar examination (see Tex. Gov't Code section 82.004).

Justices of the Court

The Court has a Chief Justice and eight associate justices. All members of the Court must be at least 35 years of age, a citizen of Texas, licensed to practice law in Texas, and must have practiced law (or have been a lawyer and a judge of a court of record together) for at least ten years (see Tex. Const., Art. 5, Sec. 2).

Election of members of the Court

The Chief Justice and the associate justices are elected to staggered six-year terms in state-wide partisan elections. When a vacancy arises the Governor of Texas may appoint Justices, subject to Senate confirmation, to serve out the remainder of an unexpired term until the next general election. Five of the current Justices, a majority, were originally appointed by Governor Rick Perry. The current Justices, like all the Judges of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, are all Republican.

The place numbers have no special meaning as all justices are elected state-wide, except that the Chief Justice position is considered "Place 1".

Current Justices

Justice Party Affiliation Place Date Service Began Term Ends
Wallace Jefferson Republican Chief Justice April 18, 2001 2008
Don Willett Republican 2 August 24, 2005 2012
Harriet O'Neill Republican 3 January 1, 1999 2010
David Medina Republican 4 November 10, 2004 2012
Paul Green Republican 5 January 1, 2005 2010
Nathan Hecht Republican 6 January 1, 1989 2012
Dale Wainwright Republican 7 January 1, 2003 2008
Phil Johnson Republican 8 April 11, 2005 2008
Scott Brister Republican 9 November 21, 2003 2010


External links