The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944 Page: 12
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The Norvell minority report proposed that the judicial power
of Texas be vested in a supreme court, in a court of appeals,
in district courts, in probate courts, in county courts, in justices'
courts, and in such corporation and other inferior courts as
the legislature would from time to time ordain and establish.
The supreme court was to consist of a chief justice and two
associate justices, any two of whom would constitute a quorum.
The supreme court should determine the cases which remained
on its docket at the time the court of appeals was organized.
The court of appeals was to consist of a presiding judge and
two associate judges, any two of whom would constitute a
quorum. The judges of the supreme court and the court of
appeals were to be elected by the voters of the state at a
general election for state or county officers. They were to
hold their offices for terms of six years and receive an annual
salary of at least $3,500.21 The DeMorse minority report was
similar to the Reagan report, except that it provided for a
court of appeals.22
The debates on the floor of the Convention concerning the
provisions of the Article on the Judiciary were lengthy.
Norvell offered his minority report to the Convention as a
substitute for the majority report of the Judiciary Committee.
He said that the latter would not meet the needs of the State
in that it would not reduce the increasing business of the su-
preme court, which was accumulating at the rate of 150
cases a year. He also objected to dividing the state into five
supreme court districts. Murphy favored the substitute
proposal in all respects except one-the salaries were in-
adequate to secure efficient judges. He spoke of the advantages
of having three judges in the supreme court, and also of the
advantage of having a court of appeals similar to that of
New York and other states. DeMorse stated that in his
opinion the majority report was an entirely fair one and
that he considered it immaterial which report was taken as
a basis of action by the Convention. He then reminded the
Convention that one of the objects of the report that he had
made was to relieve the pressure of business of the supreme
court. Judge Ballinger then took the floor and gave his rea-
sons why the Norvell and DeMorse reports should not be
21Journal of the Convention, 456-462.
22McKay, Making the Texas Constitution of 1876, 90; Journal of the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944, periodical, 1944; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/m1/16/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.