Court History

Supreme Court Judicial Election History 

N.B.: This is Texas Supreme Court election history only. It is not inclusive of any justices who were appointed or promoted under constitutional amendment, but never ran for election.

Left to Right: Justice Thomas J. Brown, Chief Justice Reuben R. Gaines, Justice Frank A. Williams. c. 1900. Photo: Texas Supreme Court Archives.
Left to Right: Justice Thomas J. Brown, Chief Justice Reuben R. Gaines, Justice Frank A. Williams. c. 1900. Photo: Texas Supreme Court Archives.

Justices of the Republic of Texas (1836 - 1845)

The Constitution of the Republic of Texas provided for a Supreme Court to consist of a Chief Justice and Associate Justices. The Associate Justices were the Judges of the eight district courts of Texas. Chief Justices were appointed by Congress.

The District Judges, whose first session was January 13, 1840, served with the Chief Justice as Associate Justices from January 13, 1840 to December 29, 1845, when Texas was admitted into the United States.

Justices Under the Constitutions of 1845 and 1861 (1845 – 1876)

The Governor appointed the justices from 1845 - 1851. Election of justices was transferred to voters in 1851.

Chief Justices

Associate Justices

Justices Under the Constitution of 1866 (1866 - 1870)

Under the Constitution of 1866 (the first Reconstruction Constitution), the Supreme Court was increased from three judges to five, with a term of office of ten years. The chief justice was to be selected by the five justices on the court from their own number. All justices were elected, but some ran on “tickets” and were all elected at the same time.

Chief Justice

Associate Justices

Justices Moore, Donley, Smith, Coke, and Willie (all on the “Conservative Union Ticket” were elected in August of 1866, running against James H. Bell, Colbert Caldwell, and William Jones of the “Union Ticket”). They were removed by U.S. military authorities in September 1867, and Union sympathizers were appointed by U.S. military authorities to replace them.

Justices Under the Constitution of 1869 (1870 - 1876)

Under the Constitution of 1869, the number of justices was reduced from five to three, and all judicial positions were appointed.

Justices Under the Constitution of 1876 (1876 – Present)

Justices 1876 – 1945

Under the Constitution of 1876, the number of justices remained at three, and the positions were once again elected with a term of six years.

Chief Justices

Associate Justices

Justices since 1945

In 1945, when a constitutional amendment increased the Supreme Court from three justices to nine, the commissioners of the Supreme Court Commission of Appeals all became associate justices.

Chief Justice, Place 1

Associate Justice, Place 2

 Associate Justice, Place 3

Associate Justice, Place 4

Associate Justice, Place 5

Associate Justice, Place 6

Associate Justice, Place 7

Associate Justice, Place 8

Associate Justice, Place 9

Compiled by Tiffany Shropshire Gilman