The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 13
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A History of the Civil Courts in Texas
dicial districts, and the chairman of both the House of Repre-
sentatives and Senate Judiciary Committees, all of whom serve
as ex-officio members. The other members are seven lawyers and
two laymen; one of the laymen on the council must be a journal-
ist by profession.31 This council works constantly to enable Texas
courts to work with greater speed and judicial accuracy. The
annual reports which the Civil Judicial Council makes have
been instrumental in bringing about the court reforms of the
past twenty-five years.
One of the more recent changes in the civil court system was
wrought by the adoption of Section 3b of Article 5 of the Con-
stitution in 1940o. This amendment gives the legislature power
to provide for direct appeals from a trial court to the Supreme
Court in a limited number of cases. Not until 1943, however,
did the legislature get around to passing legislation implement-
ing this constitutional provision.
Another noteworthy change in the civil judicial system was
made in 1939 when the legislature relinquished to the Supreme
Court full rule-making power in civil judicial proceedings and
repealed, effective on September 1, 1941, all laws governing
practice and procedure in civil actions. The court on January
1o, 1940, appointed an advisory committee of twenty-one men to
suggest a new set of rules of practice and procedure. On October
29, 1940, the Supreme Court adopted the new rules to become
effective on September 1, 1941. While only 20 per cent of the
rules were changed substantially, the changes made were of no
small consequence.82 The Supreme Court, exercising its continu-
ing power, has amended the rules on eight separate occasions.
The most outstanding recent change in the Supreme Court
was the increase of the number of justices on the court from
three to nine. In 1945 the Commissions of Appeals were abol-
ished by a constitutional amendment, and the six commission-
ers were made associate justices. The constitutional amendment
provided "each shall continue in office... until January 1, next
preceding the expiration of the term to which he has been ap-
pointed. . ."
Though the members of the court are traditionally removed
a2Dallas Morning News, August 29ag, 1941.
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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/m1/25/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.