The Supreme Court of Texas is composed of a Chief Justice and eight justices. It has statewide, final appellate jurisdiction in all civil and juvenile cases. Most of the cases heard by this Court are appeals from an appellate ruling by one of the intermediate Courts of Appeals. The Supreme Court also has the authority to determine certain legal matters over which no other court has jurisdiction and to issue such orders as may be necessary to enforce its jurisdiction and to carry out the responsibilities of the Court.
In addition to its adjudicative functions, the Supreme Court has many administrative duties. It is responsible for the efficient operation of the Texas Judicial System. The Court makes the rules of practice and procedure governing trials and appeals in civil and juvenile cases in the State, the rules of administration for the Texas Judicial System, and the rules for the operation of the state Office of Court Administration, the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the State Bar of Texas, and other state agencies in the judicial branch of government. An important administrative function of the Supreme Court is the transfer of cases between the 14 Courts of Appeals to obtain a more equal distribution of workload in those courts.
Number: 1 chief justice and 8 justices.
Selection: Partisan, statewide election. Vacancies between elections filled by Gubernatorial appointment with advice and consent of Senate.
Qualifications: Citizen of U.S. and of Texas; age 35 to 74; and a practicing lawyer, or lawyer and judge of court of record together, for at least 10 years.
Term: 6 years.