MAY 31, 2021 

As of January 2021, all nine judges on the Texas Supreme Court identify with the Republican party. Of the 80 Texas Court of Appeals Judges, 39 identify with the Republican party, 40 identify with the Democratic party and 1 identifies as nonpartisan. All nine judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals identify with the Republican party. The Republicans currently hold the governor’s office in Governor Greg Abbott, as well as majorities in both the Texas state senate and the Texas state house, holding a trifecta in the state government: possibly a trifecta plus, holding a working majority of the court.

The Texas Changes to Eligibility for Certain Judicial Offices Amendment of 2021 (Texas Senate Joint Resolution 47) and the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct Authority Over Candidates for Judicial Office Amendment of 2021 (House Joint Resolution 165) are yet more partisan components in the apparatus to restrict power to the hands of the dominant party in Texas. These amendments increase the difficulty for new candidates to run for Judicial offices by increasing the standard by which candidates will be evaluated, having them placed before the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, as opposed to being evaluated at the ballot box by eligible voters. What if an amendment similar to Texas HJR 165 were in place at the federal level, 5 years ago?

Meanwhile, Texas Senate Bill 7 increases the difficulty for eligible voters to vote for the aforementioned candidates by limiting early voting, mail-in voting, and access to absentee voting and other alternatives to in-person voting, which when taken together produce a “chilling effect” or psychological deterrent to attempt engagement in one’s civic duty. These legislative items maintain the dominance of the incumbent party. Is this the realization that may have driven Texas Democrats to block the passage of Texas Senate Bill 7 by staging a walkout on the House floor, causing the absence of a quorum needed to vote on the bill..?