Composed of the chief justice and eight justices, the Supreme Court of Texas is the court of last resort for civil matters in the state. The Supreme Court is in Austin, immediately northwest of the state Capitol.
Supreme Court justices are elected to staggered six-year terms in statewide elections. When a vacancy arises the governor may appoint a Justice, subject to Senate confirmation, to serve the remainder of an unexpired term until the next general election. Justices must be at least 35 years old, a citizen of Texas, licensed to practice law in Texas and must have practiced law (or have been a lawyer and a judge of a court of record together) for at least ten years (see Texas Constitution, Art. 5, Sec. 2).
By statute the Court has administrative control over the State Bar of Texas. Tex. Gov't Code § 81.011. The Court is also the sole authority for licensing attorneys in Texas and appoints the members of the Board of Law Examiners, which administers the Texas bar examination. Tex. Gov't Code §§ 82.00, 82.004.
The Court promulgates the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Texas Rules of Evidence and other rules and standards.
The Court currently has a vacancy after Justice Phil Johnson's retirement December 31.