By Duncan, et al. S.J.R. No. 9
Substitute the following for S.J.R. No. 9:
By Thompson C.S.S.J.R. No. 9
A JOINT RESOLUTION
1-1 proposing a constitutional amendment abolishing the court of
1-2 criminal appeals and establishing one supreme court with civil and
1-3 criminal jurisdiction and revising the manner in which appellate
1-4 justices are selected, using a combination of appointment, partisan
1-5 elections, and nonpartisan retention elections.
1-6 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-7 SECTION 1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 6, and 28, Article V, Texas
1-8 Constitution, are amended to read as follows:
1-9 Sec. 1. (a) The judicial power of this State shall be
1-10 vested in one Supreme Court, [
in one Court of Criminal Appeals,] in
1-11 Courts of Appeals, in District Courts, in County Courts, in
1-12 Commissioners Courts, in Courts of Justices of the Peace, and in
1-13 such other courts as may be provided by law.
1-14 (b) The Legislature may establish such other courts as it
1-15 may deem necessary and prescribe the jurisdiction and organization
1-16 thereof, and may conform the jurisdiction of the district and other
1-17 inferior courts thereto.
1-18 (c) A reference in this constitution or other law to the
1-19 Court of Criminal Appeals means the Supreme Court and a reference
1-20 to a Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals means a Justice of the
1-21 Supreme Court.
1-22 Sec. 2. (a) The Supreme Court shall consist of the Chief
1-23 Justice and 14 [ eight] Justices, any eight [ five] of whom shall
1-24 constitute a quorum, and the concurrence of eight [ five] shall be
2-1 necessary to a decision of a case; provided, that when the business
2-2 of the court may require, the court may sit in panels of at least
2-3 five Justices [ sections] as designated by the court to hear
2-4 argument of causes and to consider applications for writs of error
2-5 or other preliminary matters. The court shall sit en banc during
2-6 proceedings involving capital punishment, rehearings of cases on
2-7 granted motions, and other cases as required by law.
2-8 (b) No person shall be eligible to serve in the office of
2-9 Chief Justice or Justice of the Supreme Court unless the person is
2-10 licensed to practice law in this state and is, at the time of
2-11 election or appointment, a citizen of the United States and a
2-12 resident of this state and, as applicable, of the particular
2-13 supreme court district, and has attained the age of thirty-five
2-14 years, and has been a practicing lawyer, or a lawyer and judge of a
2-15 court of record together at least ten years.
2-16 (c) An office of Justice, other than the office of Chief
2-17 Justice, is an elective position as provided by this section. The
2-18 Legislature shall divide the state into seven contiguous supreme
2-19 court districts (West, South, South Central, Central, North
2-20 Central, East, and Coastal) that meet the population requirements
2-21 of federal law, with each district having two elected Justices.
2-22 The [ Said] Justices shall be subject, in the manner provided by
2-23 law, to an initial election on a partisan ballot, followed by
2-24 retention or rejection on a nonpartisan ballot, [ elected (three of
2-25 them each two years)] by the qualified voters of their respective
2-26 districts [ the state] at a general election; and on election and on
2-27 each successive retention by the voters shall hold their offices
3-1 six years, or until their successors are [ elected and] qualified.
3-2 (d) The Governor shall appoint the Chief Justice, who holds
3-3 office for a term of six years or until a successor has qualified.
3-4 If a new Chief Justice is appointed, the appointee may not be a
3-5 resident of the same district in which the preceding Chief Justice
3-6 resided. On a vacancy in the office of Chief Justice, the senior
3-7 Justice also serves as the Chief Justice until a successor has
3-9 (e) A Chief Justice or Justice may not serve on the court
3-10 for more than 20 years, comprising an aggregate of appointed and
3-11 elected tenure and regardless of the capacity served.
3-12 (f) The Chief Justice and Justices[ ; and] shall each receive
3-13 such compensation as shall be provided by law. [ In case of a
3-14 vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice or any Justice of the
3-15 Supreme Court, the Governor shall fill the vacancy until the next
3-16 general election for state officers, and at such general election
3-17 the vacancy for the unexpired term shall be filled by election by
3-18 the qualified voters of the state. The Justices of the Supreme
3-19 Court who may be in office at the time this amendment takes effect
3-20 shall continue in office until the expiration of their term of
3-21 office under the present Constitution, and until their successors
3-22 are elected and qualified.]
3-23 Sec. 3. (a) The Supreme Court shall exercise the judicial
3-24 power of the state except as otherwise provided in this
3-25 Constitution. Its jurisdiction shall be coextensive with the
3-26 limits of the State and its determinations shall be final [ except
3-27 in criminal law matters]. Its appellate jurisdiction shall be
4-1 final and shall extend to all cases [ except in criminal law
4-2 matters] and as otherwise provided in this Constitution or by law.
4-3 The Supreme Court and the Justices thereof shall have power to
4-4 issue writs of habeas corpus, as may be prescribed by law, and
4-5 under such regulations as may be prescribed by law, the said courts
4-6 and the Justices thereof may issue the writs of mandamus,
4-7 procedendo, prohibition, certiorari and such other writs, as may be
4-8 necessary to enforce its jurisdiction. The Legislature may confer
4-9 original jurisdiction on the Supreme Court to issue writs of quo
4-10 warranto and mandamus in such cases as may be specified, except as
4-11 against the Governor of the State.
4-12 (b) The appeal of all cases in which the death penalty has
4-13 been assessed shall be to the Supreme Court. The appeal of all
4-14 other criminal cases shall be to the Courts of Appeals as
4-15 prescribed by law. In addition, the Supreme Court may, on its own
4-16 motion, review a decision of a Court of Appeals in a criminal case
4-17 as provided by law. Discretionary review by the Supreme Court is
4-18 not a matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion.
4-19 (c) The Supreme Court shall also have power, upon affidavit
4-20 or otherwise as by the court may be determined, to ascertain such
4-21 matters of fact as may be necessary to the proper exercise of its
4-23 (d) The Supreme Court shall appoint a clerk, who shall give
4-24 bond in such manner as is now or may hereafter, be required by law,
4-25 and he may hold his office for four years and shall be subject to
4-26 removal by said court for good cause entered of record on the
4-27 minutes of said court who shall receive such compensation as the
5-1 Legislature may provide.
5-2 Sec. 6. (a) The state shall be divided into courts of
5-3 appeals districts, taking into consideration the supreme court
5-4 districts, with each district having a Chief Justice, two or more
5-5 other Justices, and such other officials as may be provided by law.
5-6 The Justices shall have the qualifications prescribed for Justices
5-7 of the Supreme Court.
5-8 (b) The Court of Appeals may sit in sections as authorized
5-9 by law. The concurrence of a majority of the Justices [ judges]
5-10 sitting in a section is necessary to decide a case. Said Court of
5-11 Appeals shall have appellate jurisdiction co-extensive with the
5-12 limits of their respective districts, which shall extend to all
5-13 cases of which the District Courts or County Courts have original
5-14 or appellate jurisdiction, under such restrictions and regulations
5-15 as may be prescribed by law. Provided, that the decision of said
5-16 courts shall be conclusive on all questions of fact brought before
5-17 them on appeal or error. Said courts shall have such other
5-18 jurisdiction, original and appellate, as may be prescribed by law.
5-19 (c) Each of said Courts of Appeals shall hold its sessions
5-20 at a place in its district to be designated by the Legislature, and
5-21 at such time as may be prescribed by law.
5-22 (d) Said Chief Justices and Justices shall be subject, in
5-23 the manner provided by law, to an initial election on a partisan
5-24 ballot, followed by retention or rejection on a nonpartisan ballot,
5-25 [ elected] by the qualified voters of their respective districts at
5-26 a general election, and on election and on each successive
5-27 retention by the voters serve for a term of six years or until
6-1 their successors have qualified.
6-2 (e) A Chief Justice or Justice may not serve on the court
6-3 for more than 20 years, comprising an aggregate of appointed and
6-4 elected tenure and regardless of the capacity served.
6-5 (f) A Chief Justice or Justice [ and] shall receive for the
6-6 Justice's [ their] services the sum provided by law.
6-7 (g) Each Court of Appeals shall appoint a clerk in the same
6-8 manner as the clerk of the Supreme Court which clerk shall receive
6-9 such compensation as may be fixed by law.
6-10 (h) All constitutional and statutory references to the
6-11 Courts of Civil Appeals shall be construed to mean the Courts of
6-13 Sec. 28. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b),
6-14 vacancies [ Vacancies In Offices Of Judges Of Superior Courts To Be
6-15 Filled By The Governor. Vacancies] in the offices [ office] of
6-16 Justices or Judges [ judges] of the Supreme Court, [ the Court of
6-17 Criminal Appeals,] the Courts [ Court] of [ Civil] Appeals, and the
6-18 District Courts shall be filled by the Governor until the next
6-19 succeeding General Election; and vacancies in the office of County
6-20 Judge and Justices of the Peace shall be filled by the
6-21 Commissioners Court until the next succeeding General Election.
6-22 (b) Vacancies in the office of Chief Justice of the Supreme
6-23 Court shall be filled by the Governor for the unexpired term.
6-24 SECTION 2. Sections 4 and 5, Article V, Texas Constitution,
6-25 are repealed.
6-26 SECTION 3. Article V, Texas Constitution, is amended by
6-27 adding Section 32 to read as follows:
7-1 Sec. 32. (a) This section applies to the constitutional
7-2 amendment proposed by the 76th Legislature, Regular Session, 1999,
7-3 abolishing the court of criminal appeals and establishing one
7-4 supreme court with civil and criminal jurisdiction and revising the
7-5 manner in which appellate justices are selected, using a
7-6 combination of appointment, partisan elections, and nonpartisan
7-7 retention elections. The constitutional amendment takes effect
7-8 January 1, 2000.
7-9 (b) Each appellate justice or judge in office January 1,
7-10 2000, unless otherwise removed as provided by law, continues in
7-11 office subject to this section.
7-12 (c) Each appellate justice or judge who has stood for
7-13 election and is in office January 1, 2000, is subject to retention
7-14 or rejection, in the manner provided by law, at the general
7-15 election preceding the expiration of the term for which each was
7-17 (d) Each appellate justice or judge who was appointed before
7-18 January 1, 2000, has not stood for election, and is in office
7-19 January 1, 2000, must, before becoming subject to retention or
7-20 rejection, stand for election in accordance with the law as it
7-21 existed immediately before January 1, 2000, and that law is
7-22 continued in effect for that purpose.
7-23 (e) Except as provided by Subsection (j) of this section,
7-24 the secretary of state by rule shall prescribe any procedures
7-25 necessary to implement the judicial selection system for appellate
7-26 courts in accordance with the applicable provisions of this
7-27 constitution and the Election Code.
8-1 (f) Each justice of the supreme court and judge of the court
8-2 of criminal appeals serving on January 1, 2000, continues in office
8-3 as a justice of the supreme court. The person serving as chief
8-4 justice of the supreme court continues in office as chief justice.
8-5 A vacancy in a position on the supreme court held by a former
8-6 supreme court or court of criminal appeals justice or judge under
8-7 this subsection shall be filled in accordance with Sections 2 and
8-8 28 of this article only when the justice or judge resigns or
8-9 otherwise leaves office or when the justice's or judge's term ends
8-10 and the justice or judge was not elected or does not run for
8-11 retention or is not retained after running in a retention election,
8-12 as applicable. The first vacancies on the supreme court occurring
8-13 after January 1, 2000, that would otherwise be filled as provided
8-14 by Sections 2 and 28 of this article may not be filled until the
8-15 number of justices is reduced to the number provided by Section 2
8-16 of this article.
8-17 (g) Unless otherwise provided by the supreme court under
8-18 this subsection or by other law, a matter pending in any court on
8-19 January 1, 2000, remains pending in that court for disposition in
8-20 the manner provided by the law in effect when the matter was filed
8-21 in that court. A matter pending before the court of criminal
8-22 appeals immediately before January 1, 2000, is considered pending
8-23 in the supreme court on that date. The supreme court by rule or
8-24 order may make any provision necessary to ensure that a change made
8-25 by this article or by the legislature in conformance with this
8-26 article does not adversely affect the substantial rights of any
8-27 party having a matter pending before any court on January 1, 2000.
9-1 (h) Except as otherwise provided by law, rules adopted by a
9-2 court that are in effect on January 1, 2000, are continued in
9-3 effect until superseded by law or court rule.
9-4 (i) Members of the State Judicial Qualifications Commission
9-5 on the effective date of this article continue in office, and the
9-6 existing commission shall continue to operate pursuant to Section
9-7 1-a, Article V, Texas Constitution, until otherwise provided by
9-9 (j) Before January 1, 2003, the supreme court by rule or
9-10 order may adopt any additional saving or transitional procedures or
9-11 provisions the supreme court considers appropriate to implement
9-12 this article fairly and efficiently in connection with the changes
9-13 made by the constitutional amendment described by Subsection (a) of
9-14 this section. A rule or order under this subsection may be
9-15 superseded by statute.
9-16 SECTION 4. This proposed constitutional amendment shall be
9-17 submitted to the voters at an election to be held November 2, 1999.
9-18 The ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the
9-19 proposition: "The constitutional amendment abolishing the court of
9-20 criminal appeals and establishing one supreme court with civil and
9-21 criminal jurisdiction and revising the manner in which appellate
9-22 justices are selected, using a combination of appointment, partisan
9-23 elections, and nonpartisan retention elections."