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

Category: 'News and Links'

Chief Justice Hecht becomes the longest serving member of SCOTX

January 27th, 2014 · Comments Off on Chief Justice Hecht becomes the longest serving member of SCOTX

Hecht Tribute Photo

The Court posted this photo tribute to mark Chief Justice Hecht becoming the longest-serving member in its history.

The previous mark was held by Chief Justice Greenhill, who had served for 25 years and 25 days when he retired in 1982.

According to Wolfram Alpha, Justice Hecht has had 1308 opportunities for weekly orders lists, so far.

Tags: News and Links

CLE program this Thursday in Dallas

November 18th, 2013 · 3 Comments

I will be speaking this week at the Dallas appellate section lunch.

The main topic is one that I’ve wanted a good excuse to explore: Testing the Conventional Wisdom of Appeals. Here’s the overall concept —

As appellate lawyers, we develop through our own experience a kind of intuition about which strategies make a difference on appeal. Those intuitions become tips or advice, or once repeated at enough appellate CLEs, our shared conventional wisdom about strategy.

Can the accuracy of our shared assumptions and conventional wisdom be tested against real data?

I am lucky enough to already have a large pool of (mostly) well-structured data about the Texas Supreme Court in particular. Because the Texas appellate courts now require native PDF e-briefs, it has increasingly been possible to connect each petition to the outcome.

The task I set for myself was testing how some of our conventional wisdom about Texas Supreme Court practice holds up under empirical scrutiny. When the conventional wisdom fits the data, we can be more assured in giving our clients strategic advice. When it doesn’t fit the data, we need to go deeper.

What I’m sharing on Thursday is a kind of “working paper” of my progress so far, with some interesting early results. Either at the program or later, I’d also appreciate feedback about which pieces of conventional wisdom you the appellate bar would like to see more deeply tested against real-world data.

I am also preparing a light dessert course of E-Briefs for Advocates, with a few pointers for the lawyer who might rely on others to execute the technical steps.

Event Information

Thursday November 21, 2013
Belo Mansion in Dallas
Dallas Bar website

Here’s the email that was circulated announcing the event:

Please join us at the Belo Thursday of next week, November 21, 2013, at noon for the section’s regular monthly meeting. Don Cruse (The Supreme Court of Texas Blog, will speak on “Testing Conventional Wisdom on Appeal.” One hour of CLE credit is available. NOTE: There is a “JFK Public Forum” going on at the Belo at the same time. So, come early to ensure parking.

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Justice Jeff Brown joins the Court; no opinions or grants this week [Oct. 4, 2013]

October 4th, 2013 · Comments Off on Justice Jeff Brown joins the Court; no opinions or grants this week [Oct. 4, 2013]

With today’s orders list, the Court did not issue any opinions or choose new cases for oral argument.

On Tuesday of this week, departing Chief Justice Jefferson passed the torch to new Chief Justice Hecht, swearing him in during a ceremony in the Supreme Court chamber. (photos)

On Thursday, new Justice Jeff Brown took the oath of office to join the Court. (photos) He has been promoted from Houston’s Fourteenth Court of Appeals, where he had served since 2007. From 2001 to 2007, he was a district judge in Houston.

Tags: News and Links · Order Lists

September 26th, 2013 · Comments Off on

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September 12th, 2013 · Comments Off on

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Nathan Hecht to be appointed the next Chief Justice

September 10th, 2013 · Comments Off on Nathan Hecht to be appointed the next Chief Justice

I saw the news on Twitter, and then refreshed the Governor’s press release page until I found official confirmation:

Congratulations to Justice Hecht, who has been a fixture at the Court for the length of my career. He was elected to the Court in 1988. By the time I was a law clerk (1999-2000), he was already the Court’s most senior member — and he’s been there even longer since.

He will serve as Chief Justice beginning October 1st, when Chief Justice Jefferson’s resignation becomes effective. Although Justice Hecht won reelection to a six-year term last fall, Chief Justice is a different ballot position, so he will have to stand for election again in November 2014. That will be for a six-year term.

The next task for the Governor will be choosing a replacement for Justice Hecht. That appointee will also stand for election next November, for the four years remaining on the term for Justice Hecht’s current seat.

Tags: News and Links

Chief Justice Jefferson to step down October 1st

September 2nd, 2013 · 2 Comments

The Texas Lawbook has this story:

Wallace Jefferson, the first African-American to lead the Texas Supreme Court and one of the most respected jurists in the nation, is resigning his position effective Oct. 1. Jefferson said the reasons he’s stepping down are personal financial pressures and a realization that he had achieved most of the goals he had set out to accomplish. “I’m going to move on to some new challenges, though I’m not sure what yet,” Jefferson said …


According to the article, the governor was informed last week and the official announcement will be tomorrow. Update: Osler McCarthy has just circulated this email with the official announcement.

A short version of the article was published by the Dallas Morning News. The rest of the article, including reactions from current Justices, former Justices, and members of the appellate bar, is behind the Texas Lawbook paywall at this link.

Chief Justice Jefferson’s term runs through 2014, so the interim successor named by the Governor will stand for reelection that November for a full six-year term. If that successor is drawn from among the Court’s current Justices, then the Governor will have a second interim appointment to make.

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August 30th, 2013 · Comments Off on

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