The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 10
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10 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
may have been noticed by those who have read it. 'The opinion de-
livered by the majority of the court appears to be a direct reply to
the argument of the dissenting opinion of Judge Roberts, which is
accounted for by the fact that Roberts wrote and filed his dissent
before the main opinion was composed by Judge Wheeler, who had
it before him when 'he prepared his opinion. This I learned from
Governor Roberts himself.
Another influential -and salutary innovation introduced by him
into the methods of the Supreme Court, was that of requiring all
written opinions to be submitted to the full bench before being
handed down as the decision of the court. This rule he inaugu-
rated when he became the Chief Justice in 1864, although he had
contended for it when he was associate justice. It will be remem-
bered that one of the strongest 'criticisms Thomas Jefferson lev-
eled at the Supreme Court of the United States was that, in his
day, the opinions of that tribunal were the individual utterances
of the several judges and not t'he concurrent conclusions of the
whole court, arrived at after full discussion and ratification by all
the justices. There are often many things in a judicial opinion
that are not necessary to be decided or conceded in order to sup-
port the judgment announced. As is frequently remarked, "the
decision is all right 'but the reasoning is all wrong." These dicta
from the bench simply confuse the course of judicial conduct, mis-
lead the bar, and often 'become absolutely harmful in the adminis-
tration of the law. Hence, the necessity for a thorough discussion
and complete acquiescence by the whole court, not only on the de-
cision arrived at, but on the several stages and steps of argument by
which it is reached, before it is proclaimed to the 'world as the
authoritative judgment of the bench. In establishing these two
rules in the Ideliberations of the Supreme Court of Texas-the
right and duty ,of dissent in proper 'cases, 'and the approval by the
whole court of all opinions handed down-Judge Roberts contrib-
uted vastly to the 'authority, strength, and harmonious efficiency
of that body.
It is useless here to attempt to recite the valuable expositions of
the law which are contained in his many .opinions from the highest
tribunal 'of the State. His first reported decision is in the case of
Hart vs. Weatherford, 19 Texas Reports, 57, and the last was in the
case of Overton vs. Terry, 49 Texas Reports, 773, the latter being a
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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/m1/14/: accessed May 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.