The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 16
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
lapping terms. The district courts are the fundamental trial
courts and the very cornerstone of the Texas judicial system. At
present there are 139 district courts, each presided over by a
judge who must be at least twenty-five years old, a citizen of
Texas, a resident of the district for two years immediately pre-
ceding his election, and have had four years' experience as a
lawyer or judge. District judges are elected for four year terms.
There are also county courts, county courts-at-law, domestic rela-
tions courts, justice of the peace courts, and the recently created
small claims courts.
Despite all the criticism that may be leveled against Texas'
judicial system, it works with remarkable efficiency. It is a sys-
tem founded on experience, and again quoting from the late
Chief Justice Nelson Phillips:
Despite its imperfections, it is one seasoned with years of honor-
able and arduous service in behalf of the people. In the larger view
it has bravely met and faithfully borne the burdens imposed by
the severe demands of the widespread litigation of a rapidly growing
State. "Magnanimity in politics," said Edmund Burke, "is not seldom
the truest wisdom." This is a wholesome maxim to follow in the
scrutiny of the systems and institutions of a people. They signify
a toilsome ascent, but they bespeak, always, a persevering faith. They
are not the creations of a day. They are a growth and generally a
slow one. They are intensely human in their qualities, and hence
take on something of the frailty of those responsibile for them. But
theirs is the association, the kinship, with trying periods, critical issues
and great events. Theirs is the dedication to the common welfare and
security. And theirs is the ennoblement and dignity inseparable from
hard and faithful service. In this contemplation we may well reserve,
if not abate, criticism, and, instead, acknowledge a sense of gratitude
for these supreme instrumentalities of the State which through the
crucible of difficult conditions have proven the guaranty for justice.
an unfailing dependence for public order and the shield and bulwark
for the protection of private rights.84
JUDGES OF THE SUPREME COURT OF TEXAS
In Order of Service
Name Date of Service
Collinsworth, James December 16, 18g6, to July a, 1838
Birdsall, John November 19, 1838, to December la, 1838
3sPhillips, "Historical Introduction," Texas Jurisprudence, I, p. xxxviii.
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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/m1/29/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.