The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 8
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8 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
it was now for the first time proposed to nominate the judges. The
matter was at last adjusted by Judge Roberts introducing a resolu-
tion into the convention, which was unanimously adopted, declar-
ing Judge Wheeler to be the choice of the bar and people for the
first place ,on the bench, and Judge Constantine Buckley was nom-
inated for associate justice. But James H. Bell ran against the
nominee and was elected, thus composing the court of Wheeler,
Roberts, and Bell.
It would be impossible here and now to discuss the great work
done for Texas jurisprudence by Judge Roberts' service on the high-
est court of the State. In all he was a member of the court nearly
fifteen years, being Chief Justice during seven years of that time.
His marked traits as an appellate judge were his implacable hostil-
ity -to judicial legislation-to judge-made law, 'his absolute impar-
tiality, his practical knowledge of almost every subject of inquiry
that came before him, 'his philosophic devotion to principles rather
than precedents, his boldness in adhering to a right line of decis-
ions or in departing from a wrong one, his tireless industry in the
study of details, and finally, the simplicity, clearness, logical con-
clusiveness and the completeness of his treatment and disposition
of a case. When you read one of his decisions you will have read
all there is to know about the law and facts involved. 'He de-
cided the case and 'all there was in it. There was no blind groping
after authorities to support the conclusions arrived at, but the
fundamental principle 'at issue was first sought after, apprehended,
stated, .applied, and then enforced with plain and practical direct-
ness. He went to the sources -and springs of the law as they gush
forth bold and pure from the fountains of English and American
jurisprudence, instead of seeking their wasted stream in the little
devious, 'dirty, and trickling rills 'of isolated and conflicting decis-
ions by a multitude of courts and a minimum o'f judicial wisdom.
When he had written an opinion in a case, there was no doubt
or ,difficulty in understanding just what had been done or was re-
quired to be done in order to dispose of it. If the judgment of
the lower 'court was 'affirmed, the whole law of the case was dis-
cussed, the essential rulings of 'the trial judge, were examined and
approved, or, if erroneous but not material, the errors were pointed
out as a warning and instruction for the future. If the judgment
was reversed 'and the cause remanded, every vital issue of the law
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/12/: accessed May 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.