The Flaws Of The Judiciary In The Texas Constitution

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The Texas judiciary was put into effect in the 1876 Texas Constitution and it has received major critiques on whether it is effective in this day and age. One of the critiques is of the judges in courts, they often will make decisions based on what would please citizens in order to be reelected. Texas is a state where many voters favor more harsh punishments, so when judges are doing their job, some will follow the opinions of the voters instead of the law so that they can be reelected in future elections. Another critique is that minorities and women aren’t represented in the Texas courts. With Hispanics and African-Americans making about half of Texas’s population, some to almost none are in the judiciary. Women also make up about half of the population but still there are only few in Texas courts compared to men. When people are not fairly represented in courts it leads to unfair rulings because there is no connection the courts can make with the unrepresented people and vise versa.

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Before people can make these types of critiques, it is important to understand what it means for a judge to be independent and capable and why it is important for a judge to be independent and capable. A judge needs to be able to execute his or her job independently without the outside pressure of people, personal beliefs, and emotions and needs to follow the laws and base their decisions on facts. To do this they need to be capable, where they need to be knowledgeable to make right decisions and be unbiased throughout all hearings. Critics question these characteristics of judges at all levels of the Texas judiciary because it determines if judges are doing their job correctly. And if they don’t have these types of characteristics it shows the flaws of the judiciary in the Texas constitution and the system of judicial selection.

Still, there are people that advocate for the current system where they want to continue to use it without change. This kind of assessment makes sense in some angle because one thing that Texas does for it judicial system that most states don’t is that the judges aren’t appointed, instead they are voted into by the population. This strengthens the idea of a democratic government where the people have to power to choose someone who is the best option locally, and if they don’t live up to the expectations of people they can vote the judge out of office. It also eliminates the problem of having to owning a politician for an appointment, so a judge won’t be corrupted because of the fear of getting on the bad side of politicians.

Even though there are some people happy with the current system of judicial selection, there are many who would advocate for a change in the system. The reason many people advocate for change is because the judicial system that is built from this current selection system doesn’t help represent the public. On the ballot each judge has what political party they associate with, and this partisan type election leads to voters not voting for a judge based on their qualification and skill but on if they have the same political agenda. Another reason people advocate for change is the requirement that the Texas Constitution has for eligible judges is not enough. With local courts having something as small as a 40 hour course and more encompassing courts requiring for a person to practice law for a certain amount of time, practically anyone can become a judge because instead of making sure the potential judges are competent enough for the job the only component of becoming a judge is time.

14 May 2021

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