US Vote Smart
|Court of Appeals, District 9|
The Texas Courts of Appeals are part of the Texas judicial system. In Texas, all cases appealed from the district level, both criminal and civil, may be heard by one of the fourteen Texas Courts of Appeals. The exception is for cases where the death penalty is a factor; these cases go directly to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest court in Texas for criminal cases. The highest court in Texas for civil cases is the Texas Supreme Court. The specific number of Justices that can sit in each court is regulated by statute. The total number of appellate justices in Texas is currently 80, and can range from three to thirteen for each court. Cases in appellate courts are usually heard by a panel of three judges (even if there are more available). The exception to this is when a case is heard en banc, when all of the justices reconsider a prior decision of a panel of three. Like the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals, Justices of the Texas Courts of Appeals are elected in partisan elections to six-year terms.
An conservative chief justice is needed in this position to guide his colleagues on that court to remain faithful to both the US and Texas Constitutions.