Attorney General Ken Paxton today applauded a decision by the U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi upholding the well-established practice of statewide judicial elections for the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals. The court ruled that the system fully complies with voting rights’ laws.
“Texans have been choosing the courts’ highest appellate judges in statewide elections for 142 years, and this system supports the state’s interest in maintaining judicial accountability and independence,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The system was enshrined in the Texas Constitution in 1867 and allows every Texas voter to vote for every candidate seeking a seat on the state’s two highest courts.”
A lawsuit against the state of Texas sought to divide the two highest courts into single-member judicial districts. But such a change would mean voters would only be able to vote for one seat on each high court instead of casting a ballot for all 18 seats. The court concluded that the plaintiffs that had standing “have not satisfied their burden to show that the voting methodology results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”