Judges

How Should Texas Choose Its Judges?

Jul 17, 2019
Texas Supreme Court building
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Texas is one of only seven states where trial court judges are chosen via partisan elections. Gov. Greg Abbott, who is a convert to the idea that this might not be the best way to select judges, signed a law in June creating a 15-member commission to study judicial elections. 

The top judge on the Texas Supreme Court gave lawmakers a big wish list during his State of the Judiciary speech in Austin today. Chief Justice Nathan Hecht’s list includes some new spending, some savings and fundamentally rethinking business-as-usual in Texas courts.

Image courtesy of txcourts.gov

There are more than 3,000 judges in Texas - and in the Lone Star state, they are elected. In the midterm elections, Democrats took control from Republicans in four of the state's 14 appeals courts. Will Texans notice this shift in the balance of power? 

Why Do We Elect Judges In Texas?

Oct 23, 2018
Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Standard and public radio stations across the state have been working together to help you make sense of the midterms through our Texas Decides project, inviting listeners to send in their questions.

Patsy Culver, a CPA and artist in Alpine, asks:

“My question is: Texas is fairly unique in that we elect our judges. I have not found anywhere that I can find the positions of the judges that are running this year."

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

A federal judge has rejected a race-based challenge to the way Texans fill seats on the state’s highest courts.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi handed the state of Texas a win Wednesday, writing that its current method for electing judges to the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals does not violate federal safeguards for voters of color.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A federal court is hearing a case today that challenges the way Texas elects judges for its high courts. The lawsuit argues at-large partisan elections make it difficult for Latinos to get elected.

KUT's Ashley Lopez talks about the case with Morning Edition host Nadia Hamdan. Listen to their conversation below.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A federal court in Corpus Christi will hear a case Feb. 12 challenging the way Texas voters elect judges for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. Voters and civil rights groups challenging the system say it makes it harder for Latinos to be represented.

Alexa Ura / The Texas Tribune

President Donald Trump is nominating two Texans to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and Dallas attorney James Ho.