Difference between revisions of "Texas Constitution:Article V, Section 7"

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* ''Carter v. M., K. & T. Ry. Co.'', 157 S.W. 1169, 1172 (Tex. 1913) ("We are of opinion that the effect of that provision was to confer authority upon the Legislature to create emergency courts and in their organization to provide the means by which the existing evils could be remedied expeditiously. The manifest purpose of the people in adopting that amendment was to enable the Legislature to meet such conditions as are present in this case, and it is the duty of the courts . . . . Under the broad power to establish the court and to prescribe its 'jurisdiction and organization,' the Legislature had authority to provide for the appointment of a judge by the Governor and to limit his term of office.")
 
* ''Carter v. M., K. & T. Ry. Co.'', 157 S.W. 1169, 1172 (Tex. 1913) ("We are of opinion that the effect of that provision was to confer authority upon the Legislature to create emergency courts and in their organization to provide the means by which the existing evils could be remedied expeditiously. The manifest purpose of the people in adopting that amendment was to enable the Legislature to meet such conditions as are present in this case, and it is the duty of the courts . . . . Under the broad power to establish the court and to prescribe its 'jurisdiction and organization,' the Legislature had authority to provide for the appointment of a judge by the Governor and to limit his term of office.")
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* ''Bowden v. Crawford'', 125 S.W. 5, 6 (Tex. 1910) ("It was held that the old statute applied and the court was properly . . . . This is an important question, and one that is fraught with trouble. We therefore deem it best to acquiesce in the ruling of the Court of Criminal Appeals upon the point, and therefore answer the first question: That, in so far as the act in question failed to provide Borden county with two terms of the district court for the year 1909, it is without effect, and leaves the act of 1905 in force for the first circuit of the courts. In reference to the second question, we answer that we are of the opinion that the act of 1909 was inoperative for the spring and summer terms of the courts.")
  
 
* ''Whitner v. Belknap'', 34 S.W. 594, 596 (Tex. 1896) ("The section of the constitution quoted above specifically requires the judge to hold the regular terms of his court at the county seat of each county in his district. It follows by necessary implication that he cannot hold a regular term of his court at any other place than the county seat of the county, and the legislature had no power to authorize or require a district judge to do that which the constitution forbade him to do. . . . The terms of the court prescribed in this act are to be held at fixed dates twice in each year, and are, within the meaning of the constitution, regular terms of the court, and cannot be held away from the county seat.")
 
* ''Whitner v. Belknap'', 34 S.W. 594, 596 (Tex. 1896) ("The section of the constitution quoted above specifically requires the judge to hold the regular terms of his court at the county seat of each county in his district. It follows by necessary implication that he cannot hold a regular term of his court at any other place than the county seat of the county, and the legislature had no power to authorize or require a district judge to do that which the constitution forbade him to do. . . . The terms of the court prescribed in this act are to be held at fixed dates twice in each year, and are, within the meaning of the constitution, regular terms of the court, and cannot be held away from the county seat.")

Revision as of 18:33, December 3, 2019

As amended November 5, 1985:

The State shall be divided into judicial districts, with each district having one or more Judges as may be provided by law or by this Constitution. Each district judge shall be elected by the qualified voters at a General Election and shall be a citizen of the United States and of this State, who is licensed to practice law in this State and has been a practicing lawyer or a Judge of a Court in this State, or both combined, for four (4) years next preceding his election, who has resided in the district in which he was elected for two (2) years next preceding his election, and who shall reside in his district during his term of office and hold his office for the period of four (4) years, and who shall receive for his services an annual salary to be fixed by the Legislature. The Court shall conduct its proceedings at the county seat of the county in which the case is pending, except as otherwise provided by law. He shall hold the regular terms of his Court at the County Seat of each County in his district in such manner as may be prescribed by law. The Legislature shall have power by General or Special Laws to make such provisions concerning the terms or sessions of each Court as it may deem necessary.

The Legislature shall also provide for the holding of District Court when the Judge thereof is absent, or is from any cause disabled or disqualified from presiding.

Editor Comments

The district courts are the state's trial courts of general jurisdiction. See Article V, Section 8.

Note that Article V, Section 7a(i) limits the creation of judicial districts smaller than a county.

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions

None.

Historic Decisions

  • Eades v. Drake, 332 S.W.2d 553, 556 (Tex. 1960) ("As the Legislature created a constitutional district court, the Governor shall appoint a qualified person to the position of judge of such court who shall hold such office until the next succeeding general election and until his successor shall be duly qualified; that at the next general election there shall be elected by the qualified voters of the district a judge who shall be a citizen of the United States and of this State who shall hold his office for the period of four years, and shall receive for his services . . . . Insofar as the provisions of the statute are at variance with the terms of the constitution such provisions are ineffective and void.")
  • Bridgman v. Moore, 183 S.W.2d 705, 708 (Tex. 1944) ("Our Constitution and statutes require that a district judge shall hold court only at the county seat of the county, which means the place where the courthouse is situated. Turner v. Tucker, 113 Tex. 434, 258 S.W. 149; Sec. 7 of Art. 5, Constitution of Texas, Vernon's Ann.St.; Arts. 1602 and 1919, Vernon Ann.Civ.St. Although there is no specific law requiring it, it is also the general rule that judgment should be announced only in open court . . . . Under these conditions we think such procedure, though irregular in the respect mentioned, was not of such nature as to completely nullify the judgment so as to subject it to collateral attack.")
  • Eucaline Medicine Co. v. Standard Inv. Co., 25 S.W.2d 259, 262 (Tex.Civ.App.—Dallas 1930, ref'd) (citations omitted) ("They are authorized to appoint county auditors, and in conjunction with the county judge constitute the juvenile board; at the instance of the grand jury may appoint a committee of accountants . . . , are required to fill vacancies in the office of district clerk, and appoint official court reporters. The uniform legislative practice of conferring upon courts and judges duties, judicial in nature, other than regular constitutional duties, is tantamount to a legislative construction to the effect that the Constitution neither expressly nor impliedly prohibits this class of legislation.")
  • Carter v. M., K. & T. Ry. Co., 157 S.W. 1169, 1172 (Tex. 1913) ("We are of opinion that the effect of that provision was to confer authority upon the Legislature to create emergency courts and in their organization to provide the means by which the existing evils could be remedied expeditiously. The manifest purpose of the people in adopting that amendment was to enable the Legislature to meet such conditions as are present in this case, and it is the duty of the courts . . . . Under the broad power to establish the court and to prescribe its 'jurisdiction and organization,' the Legislature had authority to provide for the appointment of a judge by the Governor and to limit his term of office.")
  • Bowden v. Crawford, 125 S.W. 5, 6 (Tex. 1910) ("It was held that the old statute applied and the court was properly . . . . This is an important question, and one that is fraught with trouble. We therefore deem it best to acquiesce in the ruling of the Court of Criminal Appeals upon the point, and therefore answer the first question: That, in so far as the act in question failed to provide Borden county with two terms of the district court for the year 1909, it is without effect, and leaves the act of 1905 in force for the first circuit of the courts. In reference to the second question, we answer that we are of the opinion that the act of 1909 was inoperative for the spring and summer terms of the courts.")
  • Whitner v. Belknap, 34 S.W. 594, 596 (Tex. 1896) ("The section of the constitution quoted above specifically requires the judge to hold the regular terms of his court at the county seat of each county in his district. It follows by necessary implication that he cannot hold a regular term of his court at any other place than the county seat of the county, and the legislature had no power to authorize or require a district judge to do that which the constitution forbade him to do. . . . The terms of the court prescribed in this act are to be held at fixed dates twice in each year, and are, within the meaning of the constitution, regular terms of the court, and cannot be held away from the county seat.")
  • Lyons-Thomas Hardware Co. v. Perry Stone Mfg. Co., 27 S.W. 100, 109 (Tex. 1894) ("A judge of the district court in this state has no power to adjudicate the rights of litigants except at the time and places prescribed by law for holding courts, unless the authority is conferred by statute. Hunton v. Nichols, 55 Tex. 225; Doss v. Waggoner, 3 Tex. 516; Hodges v. Ward, 1 Tex. 244; Black, Judgm. § 179; [88 Tex. 487] Freem. Judgm. § 121; Hammock v. Trust Co., 105 U.S. 77; Kinports v. Rawsom, 29 W.Va. 496, 2 S.E. 85; 12 Am. & Eng. Enc. Law, p. 14; Laughlin v. Peckham, 66 Iowa, 121, 23 N.W. 294. Hodges v. Ward, cited above, is very much in point. A mandamus was applied for against a collector of customs to compel him to deliver goods to the plaintiffs. The judge heard the application in vacation, and ordered the collector to deliver up the goods. The order was held to be absolutely void. In this case the order which adjudged that the deeds of trust were valid, and ordered the proceeds to be paid on the preferred debts, adjudicated in vacation the very matter in controversy. The statutes of this state do not invest the judge of the district court with such authority, and the order was a nullity.")
  • Lytle v. Halff, 12 S.W. 610, 612 (Tex. 1889) ("Article 5, § 7, provides: '. . . .' And section 14 of the same article provides that '. . . .' Both of these sections evidence the fact that it was intended the legislature, the only body empowered to make laws, should have power to increase or diminish the number of judicial districts, and to determine what territory should be embraced in a given district; and, in the absence of some limitation in these respects, nothing further appearing to illustrate the intention, the presumption would be that it was the intention to confer on the legislature the power to create a judicial district out of a territory, however small, if the business within it so required.")

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