PDH S.J.R. 9 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.J.R. 9 By: Ellis Judicial Affairs 4-22-1999 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, Texas is one of the few states in which judges are elected, not appointed. Texas has come under criticism for this system which forces judges to wage expensive political battles. This bill would reduce the partisan election of judges by requiring certain judicial offices to be filled by gubernatorial appointment, and allowing voters to decide upon the retention of those judges at the completion of their appointment term. As proposed, S.J.R. 9 requires the submission to the voters of a constitutional amendment to make the offices of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, and Court of Appeals Justice, available only through a gubernatorial appointment of six years, succeeded by a retention term. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Sections 2, 4, 6, and 28, Article V, Texas Constitution, as follows: Sec. 2. Prohibits a person from serving on the Supreme Court unless person meets the qualifications of office at the time of election or appointment to that position. Requires a chief justice and justices, after the appointed term, to serve a six-year term for each appointment or retention. Provides that a chief justice, on appointment to a vacancy, serves an initial term of a specified time after taking the oath of office. Deletes text requiring the governor to fill a Supreme Court vacancy by appointment which would last only until the next general election. Assigns subsection designations to this section and makes a nonsubstantive change. Sec. 4. Requires the judges of the Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) to have the same qualifications and receive the same salaries as justices of the Supreme Court, rather than associate justices of the Supreme Court. Requires CCA judges, after the appointed term, to serve a six-year term for each appointment or retention. Provides that a CCA judge on appointment to a vacancy, serves an initial term of a specified time after taking the oath of office. Deletes text requiring the governor to appoint a judge for the purpose of filling a vacancy. Assigns subsection designations to this section. Sec. 6. Requires the concurrence of a majority of the justices, rather than the judges, sitting in a Court of Appeals (CA) section to decide a case. Requires CA justices, after the appointed term, to be subject to a retention election and to serve a six-year term for each retention. Provides that a CA judge on appointment to a vacancy, serves an initial term of a specified time after taking the oath of office. Requires a justice to receive the sum provided by law for the justice's services. Assigns subsection designations to this section. Sec. 28. Requires vacancies in the offices of justices or judges of the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals, among others, to be filled by the governor. Requires district court judge vacancies to be filled until the next succeeding general election. Deletes this section's heading. Assigns subsection designations to this section. Makes nonsubstantive changes. SECTION 2. Adds a temporary provision to the Texas Constitution, as follows: TEMPORARY PROVISION. (a) Provides that this provision applies to the constitutional amendment proposed by the 76th Legislature, Regular Session, 1999, providing for gubernatorial appointment to fill appellate justice and judge vacancies, and retention elections for appellate justices and judges. (b) Effective date for this constitutional amendment: January 1, 2000. (c) Effective date for this temporary provision: January 1, 2008. SECTION 3. Requires this proposed constitutional amendment to be submitted to the voters at an election to be held on November 2, 1999. Sets forth the required language for the ballot.