TEXAS JUDICIAL COUNCIL
TEXAS JUDICIAL COUNCIL. The Texas Civil Judicial Council was established in 1929 to make a continuous study of the organization and operation of the state's civil courts. It consisted of eighteen members, all nonsalaried, to serve overlapping terms of six years. Sixteen of the members were attorneys, some ex officio, elected officials, such as the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. The others were appointed by the governor, and two were required to be laymen, one of whom was required to be a working newspaperman. The name of the council was changed in 1975 to the Texas Judicial Council. Its duties are to study the court system and methods, keep statistics on state judges and other court officials, and to publish annual reports on the state of the judiciary. During its first decade the council concentrated on improving procedure, with the result that in 1939 the legislature authorized the Supreme Court to make rules on civil procedure. In 1940 the Supreme Court appointed an advisory committee on rules of civil procedure to assist and to make continuing studies. In 1969 the Texas Judicial Council's authority was extended to include collecting statistics on the criminal justice system. In 1993 the council had nineteen members; ten ex officio members included the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, the presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, two justices of the Courts of Appeals appointed by the governor for four-year overlapping terms, two presiding judges of the Administrative Judicial Districts, also for four-year overlapping terms, the chairman and the immediate past chairman of the Senate Jurisprudence Committee, and the chairman and the immediate past chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The remaining nine members were appointed by the governor for six-year overlapping terms. Seven are required to be members of the State Bar of Texas and two non-lawyer citizens, one of whom must be a professional journalist. The appropriations, which include funding for the Office of Court Administration, were $1,165,118 for 1992 and $1,131,159 for 1993. The two organizations are allotted eighteen employees. The Texas Judicial Council is scheduled for sunset review in 2001.