The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 9
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A History of the Civil Courts in Texas
to amend the fundamental law was adopted which assured all
litigants in civil matters of supervision of a trial court's judgment
by at least one appeal as a matter of right. This amendment en-
tirely supplanted the judiciary article of the Constitution of
1876; its set-up replaced the old Supreme Court and Court of
Appeals with a Supreme Court, a Court of Criminal Appeals,
and a Court of Civil Appeals, but it did not disturb the trial
courts or their jurisdiction.
The amendment of i891 called for a Supreme Court of three
members with appellate jurisdiction only, until the legislature
should confer original jurisdiction. The civil appellate jurisdic-
tion was limited to a review of decisions of the Courts of Civil
Appeals. In this particular respect the Texas appellate civil court
system is unusual.22 This amendment also called for Courts of
Civil Appeals of three members with appellate jurisdiction in
civil matters only. In general this appellate jurisdiction is the
same as that given to the Supreme Court by the judiciary article
of the Constitution of 1876, except that in some cases their de-
cisions are not final but may be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
The decisions of the Courts of Civil Appeals are final in all
cases except those in which writs of error are authorized by law
to the Supreme Court."2 Originally only three Courts of Civil
Appeals were established, but this number was soon increased to
five, and presently there are eleven.
When the amendment of 1891 went into effect, all civil cases
pending in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals were trans-
ferred to the Courts of Civil Appeals. There were approximately
twelve hundred cases transferred from the Supreme Court and
three hundred from the Court of Appeals. Since these cases went
to the Courts of Civil Appeals having jurisdiction in the Supreme
Judicial District from which the appeals came, some Courts of
Civil Appeals began work with overburdened dockets. This in-
equality of work for various reasons continued until the Supreme
Court began to equalize the dockets once each year by trans-
ferring some cases.24
At the first session of the legislature, after the adoption of
22Webb and Carroll (eds.), Handbook of Texas, I, 931.
28Williams, "Court Procedure in Texas," Texas Law Review, V, 178-179.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/21/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.