Gov. Greg Abbott (R) appointed Jane Bland to Place 6 on the Texas Supreme Court, filling the vacancy left by Justice Jeff Brown. Brown was confirmed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in late July. Bland previously served on the Texas First District Court of Appeals from 2003 to 2018.
Typically, the Texas State Senate must confirm appointments to the state Supreme Court. The legislature is out of session, however, so the Senate did not have to confirm Bland’s appointment. Bland must stand for re-election in 2020 to remain on the court.
The Texas Supreme Court has nine justices. Of those, four were appointed by Gov. Rick Perry (R) and three were appointed by Gov. Abbott. The other two justices were initially chosen by voters in partisan elections.
This year, there have been 18 state supreme court vacancies across 12 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Thirteen of the vacancies were caused by retirements. Two former justices took jobs in the private sector. One vacancy occurred when a justice was elevated to chief justice of the court and two others occurred when the justices were elevated to federal judicial positions.