Message of Governor O. B. Colquitt to the thirty-second legislature of Texas. Page: 12 of 24
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due to the leniency and latitude allowed by the trial judges, in the
exercise of their discretion. Much of the reform, therefore, that we
often hear discussed, can be brought about by the trial judges. Surely
it will not be seriously contended that the substantial rights of litigants
should be abridged, but business could be expedited very much
in the trial courts by revision of the law and reforming the procedure
and practice as suggested elsewhere in this message.
It has been suggested to me by eminent jurists that no relief can
come to the Supreme Court that will be permanent except by limiting
its jurisdiction as indicated by Section three of Article five of the
Constitution. "Its appellate jurisdiction shall extend to questions
of law arising in cases in which the courts of civil appeals have
appellate jurisdiction, under such restrictions and regulations as the
Legislature may prescribe," says this provision, and "until otherwise
provided the Supreme Court is given jurisdiction over questions
of law arising in cases in the courts of civil appeals in which the
judges of any of these courts of civil appeals may hold differently
on the same questions of law, or where a statute of the state is held
void." And certainly there should be a change in the jurisdiction
of the higher courts over questions involving the constitutionality
of any statute. There should be but one supreme judicial tribunal
to which such questions could be referred, and then there would be
no conflicts in decisions on questions of this kind.
It has also been suggested that the only substantial relief to the
courts of civil appeals must come through the reform of the procedure
of the trial courts. A reform which the Legislature should
speedily make and provide for is to require appeals to be presented
by bill of exceptions which will briefly embody the objections to be
urged to the judgment appealed from, accompanied by a brief
statement of such of the procedings and evidence only as is essential
to a proper understanding of the points to be passed upon. This
relief should come at once. Legislation of recent years allowing
the taking up to the higher courts of the whole stenographic record
in a case has imposed an excessive burden on the appellate court
judges, and attorneys should be required to reduce the issue and a
statement of facts in as brief form as possible so that the judges may
grasp quickly the case before them and not have to "wade through"
the volumes of stenographic records as they now have to do.
REVISING LAWS AND COURT PROCEDURE.
Many of our laws, hastily considered and passed as they are, need
revising. The last Legislature provided for the appointment of a
committee to codify our laws and appropriated money to meet the expense
of this work. I am not advised how far the work has advanced
toward completion, but if additional appropriations are necessary to
complete it I suggest a remodeling of the law under which it is being
done so as to provide for the appointment of a commission to revise,
change, add to or take from any statute now in effect, so as to perfect,
simplify and make the law concise and take from it surplusage of
words and make its meaning simple and clear. The procedure of
our courts could be likewise modified and the cost of litigation greatly
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Colquitt, O. B. Message of Governor O. B. Colquitt to the thirty-second legislature of Texas., book, 1911; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5834/m1/12/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .