The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 10
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the amendment of 1891, the classifications of cases involving
questions of law in which the Supreme Court should have juris-
diction were greatly increased. From time to time since then, the
legislature has made changes in the kinds of cases in which ques-
tions of law may be presented to the Supreme Court on writ of
error. The legislature has given the Supreme Court power to
issue writs of mandamus to district judges and to heads of the
departments of the state government other than the governor.2'
During the first decade of the twentieth century the Supreme
Court consisted of the beloved triumvirate composed of Reuben
R. Gaines, Thomas Jefferson Brown, and Frank Alvin Williams.
The quaint personal idiosyncrasies of these three men are well
remembered in Austin, which was a small, close-knit community
at that time. Anecdotes about them still abound among Capitol
employees and long-time residents of Austin. Judge Gaines,
learned, polished, high-tempered gentleman of the old school,
had the homely habit of replacing his shoes with carpet slippers
while the three worked around the great round oak table in the
Consultation Room at the Capitol. "Alec," he would call to the
porter before settling down to work, "bring my slippers."
Promptly at five in the evening, he reversed the order to "Alec,
bring my shoes." This ended work for the day. No preference
or pleasure on the part, of the other judges could induce him
to continue the consultation that day.
Judge Gaines was a great favorite among the lawyers, and
during his long career on the bench he left many instances of
his peculiarities. Many lawyers idolized him and some felt in-
clined to defend his acts and opinions with great enthusiasm.
In one instance a case was being argued before the court by one
of Judge Gaines' sincerest admirers, and during the argument
Judge Gaines took a nap. One of the attorneys twitted the old
lawyer about his favorite judge going to sleep during his argu-
ment. The old lawyer promptly replied that "Old Reuben" had
more legal sense while asleep than most judges had while awake.
Judge Brown had the annoying habit of appropriating any
pencil at hand. His petulant colleague, Judge Gaines, determined
to break him of the custom. He and Alec tied a pencil by a
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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/m1/22/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.