Today the House passed on to the voters a proposed constitutional amendment enhancing the practice and residency requirements of candidates for the Texas Supreme Court and trial courts. SJR 47 by Sen. Joan Huffman/Rep. Jeff Leach would raise the eligibility standard for Chief Justice and Justice of the Supreme Court to a Texas resident licensed to practice law in Texas with at least ten years of practice experience in the state or a combined total of at least ten years of Texas law practice or judicial service on a state court or statutory county court (intermediate court of appeals justices must meet the same standard as the CJ). Any lawyer whose license has been suspended, revoked, or subject to a probated suspension during that ten-year period would be disqualified. To be eligible for a district bench, a candidate must have eight years of practice in Texas, rather than the current four. As in the case of the Supreme Court, any revocation, suspension, or probated suspension of the candidate’s Texas law license would disqualify the candidate. SJR 47 would implement one of the recommendations of the Texas Commission on Judicial Selection. Voters will get their chance to approve the change at the November 2, 2021 general election.

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