Court History

Supreme Court History 

Thank you for your interest in the history of the Supreme Court of Texas. The list below provides links to justices, clerks of court, and other historical information about the Court.

If you are interested in further researching the history of the Supreme Court of Texas, the information below can direct you to a variety of resources to aid you in your research.

Texas Supreme Court Archives (in house)

The Texas Supreme Court maintains some of its own inactive official records. Generally, the Court maintains the following public records:

  • Case files (2005-present)
  • Administrative Orders, Disciplinary Orders, and Resolutions [1990-present online here] 
  • Materials related to a variety of Court-appointed boards and committees
  • Rules history materials
  • Approved local rules for lower courts and administrative judicial regions
  • Supreme Court Advisory Committee (SCAC) materials [1982- present online here]
  • Rolls of Attorneys admitted to practice before the Court (1840-2002)
  • Minute Books (1943-present); Docket Books (beginning with C-cases)
  • Selected oral argument video recordings (1989-2003)
  • Vertical file of general Court-related news clippings and history articles
  • Justices’ biographical files (news clippings, speech transcripts, authored articles, ceremony materials)
  • “Sam Houston” Bible c. 1816 (available to historians and researchers only by special permission of the Court) 
  • 20th century photographs
1840 Rolls of Attorneys Ledger. Photo: Texas Supreme Court Archives.
1840 Rolls of Attorneys Ledger. Photo: Texas Supreme Court Archives.

All records requests are subject to authorization by the Court, and all authorized viewings are by appointment only. Please contact Tiffany Gilman, Supreme Court Archivist, at tgilman@txcourts.gov or 512-463-2665 for more information on these materials, to request copies, or to set up a research appointment.

Texas Supreme Court Archives (at the Texas State Library and Archives)

Most of the Court’s 19th and early 20th century records are now housed at the Texas State Library and Archives (TSLAC). These include minute, opinion, and docket books for both the Court and Commission of Appeals. Case files from 1848 - 1998 are also in the custody of TSLAC.

A complete finding aid of TSLAC’s Texas Supreme Court holdings can be found here: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/20169/tsl-20169.html . Please contact the TSLAC archives staff for more information or research requests at archinfo@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-5480.

Texas Supreme Court Historical Society

http://www.texascourthistory.org/

The Texas Supreme Court Historical Society (TSCHS) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the collection and preservation of privately owned papers, photographs, and significant artifacts relating to the Supreme Court and the appellate courts of Texas. The Society’s collection contains justices’ personal materials and campaign memorabilia, as well as the more recent justices’ portraits which hang in the Supreme Court Building.

The Society has recently sponsored three books on the history of the Court: The Laws of Slavery in Texas edited by Randolph B. Campbell, The Texas Supreme Court: A Narrative History, 1836-1986, by James L. Haley, and Common Law Judge: Selected Writings of Chief Justice Jack Pope of Texas, edited by Marilyn P. Duncan. All are available for purchase through the Society’s webpage.  For more information, please contact Mary Sue Miller at tschs@sbcglobal.net or 512-481-1840.

Biographies of Supreme Court Justices and Texas Judicial History Timeline

The Tarleton Law Library at the University of Texas School of Law has created a webpage with the biographies of Supreme Court justices from 1836 to 1986, along with a timeline documenting Texas’ judicial history.

Texas Reports

The University of North Texas’ Portal to Texas History has digitized a series of Texas Reports, which contain the published opinions of the Texas Supreme Court from 1846 to 1886. The full text documents are key word searchable.