Texas Supreme Court issues three opinions from March 13-19

The Texas Supreme Court issued three opinions from March 13-19. As of March 19, the court issued 21 opinions in 2023 — 12 fewer than this point a year ago. The three opinions are below: 

  • In re Morris (Opinion), where the court denied a prospective San Antonio voter’s petition for a writ of mandamus. The voter wanted the court to do the following before voters could vote on a proposed charter amendment: move the proposition vote from the May to the November election; compel the San Antonio city clerk and council to separate the proposed amendment into single-subject parts; and order alterations to the ballot language. The court argued that it is committed to avoiding undue interference with elections and that voters can seek remedies to election irregularities after the election.
  • IN RE MARIA TERESA RAMIREZ MORRIS, AND TEXAS ALLIANCE FOR LIFE, INC. (Dissenting), where dissenting justices argued against the above opinion. They claimed the court should grant partial relief to the voter by directing San Antonio to hold the proposed charter amendment election in November rather than May.
  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc. (Opinion), where the court both affirmed and reversed parts of the trial court’s take-nothing summary judgement in a tort and breach-of-contract lawsuit.

From March 13-19, state supreme courts issued 142 opinions nationally. The Hawaii Supreme Court issued the most with 25. State supreme courts in 18 states issued the fewest with zero. Courts where judges are elected have issued 68 opinions, while courts whose members are appointed have issued 74.  

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court are the state’s courts of last resort. The former is the state’s court of last resort for criminal matters, while the latter is the state’s court of last resort for civil matters; both have nine judgeships. Sharon Keller and Nathan Hecht are the current chiefs of the criminal and supreme courts, respectively. Combined, the courts issued 413 opinions in 2022 and 536 in 2021. Nationally, state supreme courts issued 7,423 opinions in 2022 and 8,320 in 2021. The courts have issued 1,366 opinions in 2023. Courts where judges are elected have issued 729 opinions, while courts whose members are appointed have issued 637. Texas is a Republican trifecta, meaning Republicans control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. 

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