"[5], The statutory county courts (county courts at law) are established by the Texas Legislature.[5]. Judges, Judicial Selection, and Judicial Succession. Do you think that judges should be elected or appointed?Explain your reasoning. Judges of the county courts are elected in partisan elections by the county they serve and serve four-year terms, with vacancies filled by a vote of the county commissioners. The judicial process in Texas require certain qualifications to become a judge. How informed do you think the public is about judicial electionsand judicial candidates? Explain your reasoning. [1], Like the appellate courts, the district courts fill vacancies by gubernatorial appointment with senate approval. What are the arguments for each of the selection methods you discussed? Under Section 601.003 of the Texas Government Code, judges' terms begin on January 1 after their election or re-election. Under the leadership of Governor Greg Abbott Texas Republicans have since moved to change the way Texas selects judges and justices in the major metropolitan jurisdictions. Each region is overseen by a presiding judge who is appointed by the governor to a four-year term. Feb 7, 2019 Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht says following last November's straight ticket driven defeat of hundreds of veteran Texas judges, it is time for the state to move to a different sort of system of selecting judges at all court levels, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports. Arguments supporting partisan elections. Below is a timeline noting changes to judicial selection methods in Texas. How are state judges selected in Texas? Texas and Florida are hardly the only Southern states where political struggles have erupted over judicial selection. Qualifications for probate judges are identical to those of county court at law judges. Selection and Qualification of Texas Judges . District court judges were appointed by the governor with senate consent to eight-year terms. AUSTIN—The Texans for Lawsuit Reform Foundation has released its latest paper, “Evaluating Judicial Selection in Texas: A Comparative Study of State Judicial Selection Methods,” an in-depth study comparing the methods used by various states to select their judges. a practicing lawyer and/or state judge for at least four years; and. Do you think that judges should be elected or appointed? Discuss two different methods used in other states for selecting judges. County court judges were elected to four-year terms. The top level (the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals) run state-wide. What are the arguments for each of the selection methods you discussed? Identify and explain the current Texas law regarding the selection of most judges in Texas. Selection and retention methods and term lengths are prescribed by Article 5 of the Texas Constitution. Democratic and Republican nominees had been selected in their respective parties’ primaries to run for the posts: civil, criminal, family, juvenile and probate courts. Indeed, in their book The Politics of State Courts, political science professors Harry H. Stumpf and John H. Culver assert that, “In partisan [judicial] races, the political party label may give most voters all the information they seek.”. A significant relationship exists between business group contributions to state supreme court justices and the voting of those justices in cases involving business matters. Selection and retention methods and term lengths are prescribed by Article 5 of the Texas Constitution. The next level (the Court of Appeals) runs regionally. Do you think that judges should be elected or appointed?Explain your reasoning. Do you think that judges should be elected or appointed?Explain your reasoning. Judge Qualifications and Selection in the State of Texas. Selection of State Court Judges . Across the state's appellate and trial courts, there are nine supreme court justices, nine criminal appeals judges, 80 appeals court judges, and 448 district court judges. Every few years, the legal elites and media start testing if now is the time they can take away this right. • Texas Court of Appeals Wallace Jefferson, who was Supreme Court chief justice from 2004 to 2013, was fairly blunt about his distaste for the way judges are elected. The qualities expected of judges that that are most often talked about are accountability and independence, but these qualities are often discussed without exploring what is meant by being independent.. Two methods for the selection of judges that are commonly used are: It seems like there should be a simple answer to that question, but there isn't. Proponents of judicial elections argue that this method of selection is the most democratic, allowing the people to have a direct voice in selecting judges. What are the arguments for each of the selection methods you discussed? Selection of state court judges in Texas occurs through partisan elections at each court level. Term lengths vary, but all judges must run for re-election at the ends of their terms. Selection of state court judges in Texas occurs through partisan elections at each court level. How are most municipal judges selected in Texas? How informed do you think the public is about judicial elections and judicial candidates? Partisan Elections: Judges selected through partisan elections are voted in by the electorate, and often run as part of a political party's slate of candidates. What are other ways judges can be selected? The elected justices and judges serve six-year terms, after which they must run for re-election if they wish to remain on the court. How informed do you think the public is about judicial elections and judicial candidates? Discuss two different methods used in other states for selecting judges. Judges are appointed, usually by the governor. Trial judges are elected for 4 years, and appellate court judges are elected for 6 years. The Judicial Compensation Commission (JCC) was created in 2007 by the 80th Texas Legislature to recommend the proper salaries to be paid by the state for all justices and judges of the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the courts of appeals, and the district courts. the importance of a judicial candidate's name in the current system. There are more than 3,000 elected judges in the state. [26] [27] Their legislative initiative to amend the Texas constitution to forestall Democratic gains in third branch of government was unsuccessful, but a commission was formed to look at alternative selection methods. Do you think that judges should be elected or appointed? [6], The members of the Texas Justice of the Peace Courts are elected in partisan elections and serve four-year terms. Discuss two different methods used in other states for selecting judges. Discuss two different methods used inother states for selecting judges. The ideal process for selecting judges is a subject that is debated worldwide. The majority of the judges are appointed to a two-year term by the city's governing body, though some instead compete in partisan elections.[6][7]. Nonpartisan elections: Judges are elected by the people, and candidates are listed on the ballot without a label designating party affiliation. On whether to adopt an appoint/retain system similar to the Texas […] Critics of partisan judicial elections argue that the growing amount of fundraising in election campaigns gives special interest groups a foothold to manipulate the judiciary to their liking. [1] Figure 1. Qualifications Alyssia 2 Texas Selection Texas falls in a category only help by one other state in terms of judge selection. A judicial qualifications commission was created to remove judges for misconduct and disability. Across the state's appellate and trial courts, there are nine supreme court justices, nine criminal appeals judges, 80 appeals court judges, and 448 district court judges. But in the states that have seen the most judicial campaign cash, the campaign donors are not concerned with social issues. How are state judges selected in Texas? The Commission was established in 2019 by the 86th Legislature through House Bill 3040, and was charged "to study and review the method by which statutory county court judges, including probate court judges; district judges; appellate and Supreme Court Justices are selected for office in Texas." Arguments For and Against Selection Judges by Partisan Elections. As of January 2019, 472 district courts serve the state, each with a single judge, elected by partisan election to a four-year term. I believe that Texas judges, by and large, are as well qualified as those from states with retention and selection systems or their federal sisters. Do you think that judges should be elected or appointed?Explain your reasoning. The court of civil appeals was created. general. Methods of judicial selection vary substantially across the United States. On September 14, 2019, The Federalist Society held a panel on Proposed Reforms to Texas Judicial Selection during its Annual Texas Chapters Conference. Probably not as quickly.… [I]t is a significant thing for voters to assert themselves as dramatically as they did in these two states. [2], The nine justices of the supreme court, nine judges of the court of criminal appeals and the 80 judges of the court of appeals are selected in partisan elections—statewide for supreme court and criminal appeals court justices, by district for court of appeals judges. Discuss two different methods used in other states for selecting judges. The Texas District Courts form part of the Texas judicial system and are the trial courts of general jurisdiction of Texas. Some of those judges went on to the federal bench. Why do we do this? • Texas Statutory Probate Courts The appointee serves until the next general election, in which he or she may compete to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term. [1], The county courts encompass two categories of judgeships: the constitutional county courts and judgeships created by statute, including the Texas Statutory Probate Courts and Texas County Courts at Law. Voters cast ballots making the system a combination of straight-ticket voting and partisan election. A justice who receives half of his or her contributions from business groups would be expected to vote in favor of business interests almost two-thirds of the time. Texans have held a right to elect their judiciary for 150 years. Discuss two different methods used in other states for selecting judges. States choose judges in any of the following ways: Appointment: The state's governor or legislature will choose their judges. Term lengths vary, but all judges must run for re-election at the ends of their terms. Samford University law professor Michael E. DeBow points to examples from the late 1990s when judiciaries in Texas and Alabama appeared to be heavily inclined towards trial lawyers. In 1980, Texas became the first state in which the cost of a judicial race exceeded $1 million. Texas deserves a judicial selection process that rewards integrity, intelligence, education, preparation and even temperament. How are state judges selected in Texas? They must also complete a similar 20-hour course each year they continue to serve. Texas judicial elections, 2010; Selection method See also: Partisan election of judges. The majority of the cases that justice of the peace judges hear are those regarding ... District courts usually have _____ jurisdiction, meaning that they hear a broad range of civil and criminal cases. Do you think that judges should be elected or appointed?Explain your reasoning. The empirical relationship between business contributions and justices’ voting for business interests exists only in partisan and nonpartisan systems; there is no statistically significant relationship between money and voting in retention election systems. How are state judges selected in Texas? …, When voters think of judges’ political affiliation, they often think of cases involving controversial social issues, such as abortion or gay marriage, that garner a lot of media attention but constitute merely a fraction of a court’s rulings. When voters caught wind of this, they began what DeBow calls a “revolt,” replacing their judges and moving towards tort reform laws. [5], 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. Some states hold "retention elections" to determine if the judge should continue to serve. Judges are subsequently reelected to additional terms. Brett Busby, a Republican judge in Houston who lost re-election in November in a Democratic rout of urban-area appellate courts, has been appointed to the Texas Supreme Court, Gov. Should Texas Change the Way Judges are Selected? The flaw in Texas’ judicial selection process is that it doesn’t allow voters a fair shot at knowing which candidates are the legal profession’s best and the brightest. Explain your reasoning. Identify and explain at least TWO other types of judicial selection processes used in the U.S. Many Texas judges will tell you privately that they hate the state’s partisan system. What are grand juries and petit juries and what do they do? After holding several months of public hearings, the Texas Judicial Selection Commission issued its final report on December 30. JP courts run in districts within counties). Most municipal judges are appointed by the mayor or the city council. In Texas, one of just a few states that maintains a system of partisan judicial selection all the way up through its high courts, judges are at the mercy of the political winds. Choose whichever judicial selection method you think is best and give at least TWO criteria explaining how and why you made your choice. *In 2007, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing judges who reached mandatory retirement age to finish their term of office. When Texas became a state in 1845, judges were appointed by the governor with senate consent, but since 1876, judges at all levels of courts have been elected by the people in partisan elections. Judges are subject to retention elections for additional terms. Though each state has a unique set of guidelines governing how they fill their state and local judiciaries, there are five main methods: Texas elects their judges (except at some of the municipal levels) in partisan elections, and the table below depicts the specifics for each level of court. Judges are appointed, usually by the governor. According to the Texas Courts website, the presiding judge may be a "regular elected or retired district judge, a former judge with at least 12 years of service as a district judge, or a retired appellate judge with judicial experience on a district court."[4]. In the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court judges are required to have a license to practice law and must have been practicing law for ten years. Click here to contact our editorial staff, and click here to report an error. In 1980, Texas became the first state in which the cost of a judicial race exceeded $1 million. (1,527 are appointed and only 16 are elected.) Judges of these 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. Many Texas judges will tell you privately that they hate the state’s partisan system. have practiced law or served as a judge for at least four years preceding the election. • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals It strongly supports the view that voters are not incompetent to vote on judicial races, and lends aid and comfort to those working to effect legal reform.”, Another argument put forth by proponents of this selection method is that affiliating judicial candidates with a political party efficiently communicates the candidate’s values and ideologies to voters. Term lengths vary, but all judges must run for re-election at the ends of their terms.[1]. David Beck, a partner in Beck Redden in Houston, is the Texas Commission on Judicial Selection’s chairman. The flaw in Texas’ judicial selection process is that it doesn’t allow voters a fair shot at knowing which candidates are the legal profession’s best and the brightest. Do you think that judges should be elected or appointed? What are the arguments for each of the selection methods you discussed? .courts-header { font-size:150%;background-color:#334aab;color:white;} [7], The rules regarding judges of the Texas Municipal Courts vary by each city's charter. Selection of state court judges in Texas occurs through partisan elections at each court level. Discuss two different methods used inother states for selecting judges. disputes, lawsuits, and recounts. Do you think that judges should be elected or appointed? A nonpartisan organization with a national membership of judges, lawyers and other citizens interested in the administration of justice, American Judicature Society (AJS) works to maintain the independence and integrity of the courts and increase public understanding of the justice system. The Governor fills vacancies until the next election, and judges traditionally leave office before their last term is completed. Texas and Florida are hardly the only Southern states where political struggles have erupted over judicial selection. How are state judges selected in Texas? Supreme court justices were appointed by the governor with senate consent to nine-year terms. Texas has long struggled with selecting judges in partisan elections, where candidates run as Republicans and Democrats. The district courts are served by Article III federal judges, who are appointed for life during good behavior. What are the arguments for each of the selection methods you discussed? Merit Selection: Judges are chosen by a legislative committee based on each potential judge's past performance. Discuss two different methods used inother states for selecting judges. How are state judges selected in Texas? Merit Selection: Judges are chosen by a legislative committee based on each potential judge's past performance. *In 2007, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing judges who reached mandatory retirement age to finish their term of office. The Commission on Judicial Selection released its recommendations and report a week ago. Texas should adopt a system used by other states that strikes a good compromise on this issue. This democracy business can be a little messy at times, certainly inefficient and occasionally some bad mistakes are made, but you can trust [voters] to get it right most of the time.”, —Professor Michael E. DeBow of the Samford University School of Law. 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