Supreme Court of Texas Blog: Legal Issues Before the Texas Supreme Court

Category: 'SCOTXblog Announcements'

Cases in the News

June 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off on Cases in the News

You might have noticed a new heading in the sidebar — “Cases in the News” — collecting stories about Texas Supreme Court cases published on other blogs, newspapers, and journals. (( If I see an interesting article, I add it to the list. If you see an interesting article, please let me know. ))

These links are stored by DocketDB and are part of my ongoing effort to automate myself out of a blogging job. DocketDB already reports the Texas Supreme Court’s briefing requests, and now it provides a framework to share articles and analysis pieces about the Court’s decisions and pending cases.

I’ll still select articles to discuss in full blog posts, but this will be a faster way to share articles about the Texas Supreme Court that I otherwise couldn’t.

You can subscribe to an RSS feed of these articles at DocketDB.

Tags: SCOTXblog Announcements

You Can Now Subscribe by Email

June 1st, 2009 · Comments Off on You Can Now Subscribe by Email

You can now get SCOTXblog by email.

Your email address:

The fastest updates will still come through the RSS feed. But the emails will give you a digest of the most recent posts.

Tags: SCOTXblog Announcements

A Year of Blogging

December 8th, 2008 · 4 Comments

A year ago this week, I hit “publish” on a short introductory post. Since then, I have (apparently) cranked out 267 more posts — which, through the ups and downs of activity at the Court, has been about once per weekday.

That’s more often than I thought I would write. But, it turns out, the easiest times to write have been the busiest (both for the Court and for me).

And I want to thank you for reading. Although the internet traffic spikes when a court case makes the national news (or when an amusing post gets picked up by the “lawyer entertainment” industry), it’s the readers who keep coming back that keep me writing.

My email box is always open to suggestions for topics, for improvements to the blog, or pretty much anything you might want to share.

Thanks again.

Tags: SCOTXblog Announcements

Tracking New Briefing Requests with DocketDB

September 29th, 2008 · 1 Comment

This blog often mentions the Texas Supreme Court’s new requests for full briefing on the merits, which, as court watchers know, can signal what issues are on the Court’s radar.

There is a new way to follow those requests and find cases that matter to you. In the blog’s left-hand sidebar is a list of the Texas Supreme Court’s most recent requests for full briefing (those made in the past month).

You can view those requests on this blog, or you can subscribe in your own RSS reader. This list is provided by DocketDB, a private docket-tracking website.

What’s DocketDB?

DocketDB is a web-based legal research tool that, for now, is focused on the Texas Supreme Court.

It’s also a project that I’ve been very personally involved in. The database that powers DocketDB is a grown-up version of a court-tracking database I first put together on my laptop. And the tracking and analysis tools available on DocketDB are aimed at the types of questions that have come up in my own appellate practice. I’ve thought that others might want to use the same tools. To make that possible, I’ve developed DocketDB as a separate website unconnected from my law practice.

To me, the key is that DocketDB tracks and isolates the Texas Supreme Court’s active docket. DocketDB follows all pending petitions, highlighting the ones that have lingered long enough to be candidates for the Court’s “submarine” docket, as well as the cases submitted on oral argument. It also tracks amicus filings and attorney appearances, so you can flexibly search to see which cases have drawn the most interest, and from whom. These tools are designed to let you see across the Court’s docket.

Why does it matter what’s happening in these other cases? When the Court grants petitions, it weighs their importance against that larger backdrop. And when the Court resolves particularly thorny legal questions, it takes account of the other petitions that have raised similar issues. DocketDB tries to show the docket from that broader perspective. (( This perspective can be useful at every stage. Obviously, if you are filing in the Texas Supreme Court, you want to know how your case fits into the larger picture. In the courts of appeals, knowing what issues are pending can help shape your strategy. And in the trial courts, knowing the hot-button issues gives you more information about how the legal foundation might shift beneath your case. )) It’s a tool to help you make better strategic choices. How you use it is up to you.

A few of DocketDB’s simpler resources will be open to the public, including the list of new briefing requests. The more advanced features, however, will be reserved for subscribers. (( There are some practical reasons for this. Its tools are customizable for each user, with each user having a tracking list of “starred” cases, a private set of “labels” or tags that can be assigned to group related cases, and private notes that can be added. And, as I’m learning, running this type of internet service takes far more resources than does a humble blog. ))

Tags: Legal Tech · SCOTXblog Announcements

About Last Week

April 7th, 2008 · Comments Off on About Last Week

If you are a regular reader of the blog, you may have noticed the sudden drop in postings last week. While the Court was active, the blog went quiet and did so without explanation.

Last week, I put aside the blog — and the practice of law as a whole — to spend time with my father, and then with my family. My father had not been well for some time, and he passed away last Wednesday. Some of you heard the news, or part of it, through some other means, and I very much appreciated your concerns, thoughts, and prayers.

A friend kindly volunteered to make last Friday’s post for me. (( This post was made under the name “Don’s Understudy,” an attribution that appears in the RSS version but not, as of yet, the main blog. I’ll tweak the blog at some point to show authorship. )) I greatly appreciated not having to think about law at all last week. If I can convince my friend to post again, then I will make a more formal introduction. For now, it’s just a thank you.

Tags: SCOTXblog Announcements


December 4th, 2007 · 1 Comment

This is a blog about Texas appellate practice, with a special focus on the Supreme Court of Texas.

Goals for the Blog

The blog is written for a sophisticated audience: Texas lawyers and their clients.  It will be of obvious interest to appellate lawyers who practice before the Court.  It should be equally useful to practitioners in the intermediate appellate courts and to trial lawyers as they make judgments about which legal issues to pursue below (and then on appeal).

A broad view of the Court’s docket — and a preview of pending cases — may also help parties and interest groups identify cases in which it would help to file an amicus curiae brief.  The decisions of the Court resonate far beyond the parties before the Court, and without knowledge of which issues are pending before the Court now, clients and lawyers risk being taken by surprise by unfavorable turns in the law.

What To Expect

To serve these groups, the blog will collect three kinds of articles:

  •  “Case Notes” — covering pending cases and recent decisions from the Supreme Court of Texas
  • “News and Links” — pointers to stories in the media (or other blogs) that deal with questions of Texas law or the Supreme Court of Texas
  • “Practice Notes” — articles about practice before the Court, including analysis of trends and suggested techniques for succeeding in the Court

Because its focus is on appellate practice, this blog may not have as much coverage of political issues affecting the Court as do some other blogs.  

How To Participate

I want this blog to be a useful tool for the appellate community.  I very much welcome contributions that further that goal.  If you have suggestions, please email me at the address in the sidebar.  You are also invited to directly participate.   So long as the discussions remain constructive, the “comments” features of the blog will be active.  If you want to do more, such as to submit your own article or case note, please send a proposal or a draft to me.

Tags: SCOTXblog Announcements