In his biennial report Tuesday on the Texas judiciary Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht reckoned with the past year’s unprecedented challenges for the courts and declared: “In the judiciary, we knew this: justice cannot sit out a crisis.” “Closing the courts was not an option,” Chief Justice Hecht told a virtual audience in a web broadcast. “We could limit operations to emergencies for only a few days. Courts, like everyone else, had to adapt.”
State of the Judiciary Address Scheduled for Web Broadcast
March 23, 2021
Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht will deliver his biennial State of the Judiciary address at noon Tuesday, streamed here.
Order Sets Hearing on Disciplinary Rules after Bar Referendum
March 15, 2021
By order Monday the Texas Supreme Court has set May 4 for deliberations considering proposed disciplinary rules amendments approved by licensed Texas lawyers in a referendum that ended March 4. The amendments are included as an appendix to the order. The hearing will be from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, May 4, by Zoom videoconferencing and broadcast on the Court’s YouTube channel. The amendments' proposed effective date is July 1, 2021.
In the 36th emergency order issued Friday responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Supreme Court has removed requirements that all but certain proceedings to be remote but encourages remote trials and hearings and gives local presiding judges authority to require masks for participants and imposing physical distances for in-person proceedings. The order also lifts the prohibition on in-person municipal and justice court proceedings but now allows those courts to hold proceedings by electronic means. It retains courts’ authority to “modify or suspend any and all deadlines and procedures” through June 1.
The Texas Supreme Court, in a 35th emergency pandemic order issued February 11, extended until May 12 the force of pleading requirements to forestall evictions for certain tenants behind on rent.
Eviction Pleading Requirements Extended to Reflect New Federal Provisions
January 29, 2021
In its 34th pandemic emergency order, the Texas Supreme Court has extended pleadings protections to March 31 for certain tenants facing evictions, mirroring federal strictures.
Court Extends Omnibus Judicial Proceedings Emergency Order for Two Months
January 14, 2021
By the 33rd emergency order, the amended original order addressing trial and case proceedings has been extended to April 1, 2021.
In an emergency order posted Tuesday, the Texas Supreme Court extended deadlines for eviction procedures for tenants and landlords under the federal stimulus passed by Congress that to reflect its continuation of a CARES Act section and eviction protections issued in September by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Protection.
In an emergency order posted Tuesday, the Texas Supreme Court has extended deadlines for procedures for tenants and landlords under a statewide housing-assistance program intended to avoid evictions for tenants behind on rent.
The Texas Eviction Diversion Program, announced in October, is supported by Gov. Greg Abbott's commitment of federal money for landlords to provide an eviction alternative. Eligibility for rental assistance under the program will be administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
Emergency Order for Residential-Eviction Pleading Requirements Extended
December 14, 2020
Emergency order on eviction-pleading requirements, accounting for protections under federal law, extended to December 31.
Emergency Order Affecting Trials Extended to February 1
November 12, 2020
The Texas Supreme Court, in the 29th emergency pandemic order, extended the order outlining limitations on jury trials to no later than February 1 from December 1.
National Center for State Courts Presents Chief Justice Hecht Its 2020 Innovation Award
November 09, 2020
Chief Justice Nathan Hecht is the 2020 recipient of the Harry L. Carrico Award for Judicial Innovation, one of the highest awards presented by the National Center for State Courts. The award is named after the late Virginia Chief Justice Harry L. Carrico, who was instrumental in founding NCSC in 1971. The award honors a sitting state court chief justice or justice who has inspired, sponsored, promoted, or led an innovation of national significance in the field of judicial administration.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced his appointment Thursday of Rebeca Aizpuru Huddle of Houston to replaced retired Justice Paul Green. Huddle, an El Paso native, is currently managing partner of the Baker Botts Houston office and a former appellate justice in Houston.
The Texas Supreme Court has extended restrictions on in-person jury proceedings to December 1 in an emergency order issued Friday.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman will be featured in Lady Justice: Women of the Court, a new podcast series produced by the Arkansas Supreme Court’s Public Education Program.
The Texas Office of Court Administration has issued its report to the Texas Supreme Court on safe conduct of jury trials.
Court Responds to Law Deans’ Comments on Bar Exam Order
August 28, 2020
In a letter to Texas law school deans, the Court addresses the deans’ comments proposing an alternative licensing procedure in response to the Court's July 3 order on the Texas bar exam.
In a 24th emergency order, the Supreme Court has extended to September 30 limitations on residential-eviction proceedings filed from March 27, 2020, through September 30.
In an emergency order posted Thursday, the Texas Supreme Court extended until October 1 the limits on jury proceedings in previous pandemic-related orders.
The National Center for State Courts has announced Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht has started his term as president of the Conference of Chief Justices and head of the National Center board. Chief Justice Hecht is the fifth Texas Supreme Court chief justice to lead the organization.
In an emergency order posted Friday, the Texas Supreme Court extended until September 15 the limitations on civil case filings and service of them for deadlines that fall between March 13, 2020, and September 1. As with previous orders, the extensions do not include deadlines for perfecting appeal or for other appellate proceedings.
In an order issued Friday the Texas Supreme Court canceled the two-day in-person July Texas bar examination in response to accelerating COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions in the state and approved an alternative online test in October. The Court’s 19th emergency order specifies that the Board of Law Examiners should administer an online examination October 5-6 and keep an option for an in-person test to be offered September 9-10, “subject to guidance from public health authorities.”
Critical conversations are taking place in communities across Texas about equality and justice under the law. The Supreme Court of Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, with support from the Children’s Commission, spearheaded efforts to facilitate these discussions in their Beyond the Bench: Law, Justice, and Communities Summit. All Texans may find videos and resource materials from the summit here, as well as a toolkit for fostering dialogue throughout the state about solutions for enhancing the public's trust in our justice system.
The Board of Law Examiners will condense the remaining 2020 Texas bar examinations to two days in the sessions scheduled for July 28-29 and September 9-10.