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Constitution of the State of Texas 1876 Art. 5, § 7a. Judicial Districts Board;  reapportionment of judicial districts

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Sec. 7a. (a) The Judicial Districts Board is created to reapportion the judicial districts authorized by Article V, Section 7, of this constitution.

(b) The membership of the board consists of the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court who serves as chairman, the presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the presiding judge of each of the administrative judicial districts of the state, the president of the Texas Judicial Council, and one person who is licensed to practice law in this state appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate for a term of four years.  In the event of a vacancy in the appointed membership, the vacancy is filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment.

(c) A majority of the total membership of the board constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business.  The adoption of a reapportionment order requires a majority vote of the total membership of the board.

(d) The reapportionment powers of the board shall be exercised in the interims between regular sessions of the legislature, except that a reapportionment may not be ordered by the board during an interim immediately following a regular session of the legislature in which a valid and subsisting statewide apportionment of judicial districts is enacted by the legislature.  The board has other powers and duties as provided by the legislature and shall exercise its powers under the policies, rules, standards, and conditions, not inconsistent with this section, that the legislature provides.

(e) Unless the legislature enacts a statewide reapportionment of the judicial districts following each federal decennial census, the board shall convene not later than the first Monday of June of the third year following the year in which the federal decennial census is taken to make a statewide reapportionment of the districts.  The board shall complete its work on the reapportionment and file its order with the secretary of state not later than August 31 of the same year.  If the Judicial Districts Board fails to make a statewide apportionment by that date, the Legislative Redistricting Board established by Article III, Section 28, of this constitution shall make a statewide reapportionment of the judicial districts not later than the 150th day after the final day for the Judicial Districts Board to make the reapportionment.

(f) In addition to the statewide reapportionment, the board may reapportion the judicial districts of the state as the necessity for reapportionment appears by redesignating, in one or more reapportionment orders, the county or counties that comprise the specific judicial districts affected by those reapportionment orders.  In modifying any judicial district, no county having a population as large or larger than the population of the judicial district being reapportioned shall be added to the judicial district.

(g) Except as provided by Subsection (i) of this section, this section does not limit the power of the legislature to reapportion the judicial districts of the state, to increase the number of judicial districts, or to provide for consequent matters on reapportionment.  The legislature may provide for the effect of a reapportionment made by the board on pending cases or the transfer of pending cases, for jurisdiction of a county court where county court jurisdiction has been vested by law in a district court affected by the reapportionment, for terms of the courts upon existing officers and their duties, and for all other matters affected by the reapportionment.  The legislature may delegate any of these powers to the board.  The legislature shall provide for the necessary expenses of the board.

(h) Any judicial reapportionment order adopted by the board must be approved by a record vote of the majority of the membership of both the senate and house of representatives before such order can become effective and binding.

(i) The legislature, the Judicial Districts Board, or the Legislative Redistricting Board may not redistrict the judicial districts to provide for any judicial district smaller in size than an entire county except as provided by this section.  Judicial districts smaller in size than the entire county may be created subsequent to a general election where a majority of the persons voting on the proposition adopt the proposition “to allow the division of ____________ County into judicial districts composed of parts of ____________ County.”  No redistricting plan may be proposed or adopted by the legislature, the Judicial Districts Board, or the Legislative Redistricting Board in anticipation of a future action by the voters of any county.

Cite this article: - Constitution of the State of Texas 1876 Art. 5, § 7a. Judicial Districts Board;  reapportionment of judicial districts - last updated April 14, 2021 |

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