The Texas Judicial system is a puzzling topic to most citizens and has its pros and cons. The system is not liked by everybody because of the way it selects our judges. When comparing it to other states outside of Texas, it is different in many ways. For years many citizens and government officials have fought to reform the system. Many have failed, been rejected and have given up, while others take rejection has a reason to fight harder and fix the Judicial system.
The Texas Judicial system is described as complicated, negligent, and poorly structured to handle current legal proceedings. At the top of the Texas court system sit two high courts, the Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals. Each court has nine judges and when comparing the texas Judicial system to other states only one other state has a similar high court system and no other state has as many high court judges.
Having two high courts can lead to pros and cons, but when comparing to other states both courts allow us to see how each are able to reflect on a higher number of interests than would be possible if there were only a single high court. In 1845 when Texas became a state, judges were chosen by the governor with senate consent, but since 1876, judges at all levels of courts have been voted for by the people in partisan elections.
Appellate judges serve six-year terms, district judges, county-level judges and justices of the peace serve four-year terms and municipal judges usually serve two-year terms. Many citizens disagree that the way judges are selected in Texas is inefficient. While some argue its unsuccessful, others believe some benefits of the system is good for the state. Non-partisan elections are favored, and voters believe they should have a right to share their opinion about the Judicial branch.
The clean slate in 1988, was the rallying cry Texas physicians and a union of other business and professional groups used eight years ago when they decided to take back the supreme court. In 1988 there were three justices on the ballot each year, on a nine justice court, but because of officials stepping down there were six races for the supreme court on the ballot during this year. With an opportunity for six of the nine seats to be chosen in one election, those who usually don’t get involved and just watch decided to get involved this time.
Throughout the years pro-plaintiff versus pro-defendant has changed since 1988. Being pro-plaintiff means that you are the party that initiates a suit in a court. Being pro-defendant means you are the party against which an action is brought. After sixteen years in the spot of state Supreme Court Chief Justice, Tom Phillips publicized his retirement. Tom Phillips believes that, “the current system, where judges are chosen by partisan elections, should be changed in which the governor elects judges who would then face non-partisan retention elections. Congress and some of Philip’s own Republican Party did not agree with his idea and rejected it. Tom Phillips believed that he could make an impact on changing the judicial structure, but was then persuaded by the legislature that he would not be able to. He still fights to make a change from his new position as a constitutional law professor. Tort reform does not involve a single law, torts are legal wrongs that violate the rights of another and lead to a form of civil responsibility.
Texas is the forefront of the tort reform movement in the United States. Supporters of tort reform believe that huge jury awards are not only excessive to the injury sustained by the plaintiff but also a void on the state’s economy and is damaging to certain professions. Opponents argue that tort reform is not only legislative tampering with the judicial system but favors these powerful professions and business interest groups who seek to be protected from punishment for practices and products that cause harm to citizens.
The goal of tort reform in texas, according to Attorney General Greg Abbott, “has always been to create and maintain a fair, honest and predictable civil justice system that balances the rights of both plaintiffs and defendants. ” Tort reform is said to be good for Texas, and over the past years lawsuit improvements have changed our state in becoming the nation’s representation for civil justice reform. I believe that the selection of judges in texas should be reformed.
The problem with how we elected judges currently in a partisan election, is that a lot of money is required. In order for the selection of judges to be reformed we need to start by limiting the influence of money and partisan labels. Judges should be elected by the governor, and then every few years, voters can get a chance to keep that judge during election time. Many say that the law is non-partisan and judges should be too.
The five student learning outcomes that applied to the topics i discussed are, describe state and local political systems and their relationship to the government, demonstrate knowledge of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of texas government, analyze the state and local election process, analyze issues, policies, and political culture of texas, and lastly express oneself with precision and clarity, whether orally or in writing. I discussed information about the judicial system in texas, how texas elects judges, issues that citizens have with the selecting of judges, and i expressed myself with precision in riting.
The general education competencies that i believe applied throughout my essay would be critical thinking and communication. Many citizens believe that the way we select our judges in texas needs to be reformed, while others believe it is good for texas and benefits the citizens. Many will continue to fight to change the system, and many will give up. I believe that one day the process of electing judges will be fixed and the right way will appear. The judicial system has many pros and cons, but i believe that all government officials just want what’s best for texas and its citizens.