Article XI, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution

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Adopted February 15, 1876:

The several counties of this State are hereby recognized as legal subdivisions of the State.

Editor Comments

Texas has 254 counties. The last one was added in 1931.

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions


Historic Decisions

  • Robbins v. Limestone County, 268 S.W. 915, 919 (Tex. 1925) ("The fact that the roads in Limestone county . . . . Where not restricted by the Constitution, the Legislature has full control of the property held by a county as an agency of the state, and may exercise dominion and control over it without the consent of the county, and without compensating the county for it. It is well established in this state that, conformable to the Constitution, the Legislature may divide a county and create two or more out of its territory, may consolidate two or more counties, or otherwise change their boundaries and territory. The exercise of such powers is, of course, consistent with proprietary rights and ownership.")
  • Bexar County v. Linden, 220 S.W. 761, 763 (Tex. 1920) ("The affairs of a municipality are municipal affairs, their concerns are municipal—those merely of the community, and the powers they exercise are municipal powers. This is not true of counties. They are essentially instrumentalities of the State. They are the means whereby the powers of the State are exerted through a form and agency of local government for the performance of those obligations which the State owes the people at large. They are created by the sovereign will without any special regard to the will of those who reside within their limits. Their chief purpose is to make effective the civil administration of the State government.")
  • Heigel v. Wichita County, 19 S.W. 562, 563 (Tex. 1892) ("It is upon this distinction that the courts ordinarily base the difference in the rule of liability as applied to municipal corporations proper, and to quasi municipal corporations, such as counties and townships. Other courts hold that, since a county is but a political subdivision of the state, a suit against the county is, in effect, a suit against the state, and that, therefore . . . . But upon whatever ground it should be placed, it is fairly well settled that in cases like this cities are liable and counties are not, and we therefore feel constrained by the authorities to hold that the petition under consideration showed no cause of action against Wichita county.")
  • Milan County v. Bateman, 54 Tex. 153, 165-66 (1880) ("Counties in their relation toward the state may be viewed in a two-fold aspect: one, which pertains to their political rights and privileges; the other, to their rights of property. Over the former, the legislature as the representative of state sovereignty can exercise absolute power unless restricted by the organic law. If it could not exercise such power over the delegated political rights and privileges of counties . . . . A different principle, however, obtains as regards the rights of counties to property which they may acquire. Such rights, as a general rule, are protected by the same constitutional guarantees which shield the property of individuals.")

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