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2021 Hisp. J.L. & Pol'y 1 (2021)

handle is hein.journals/hpjlp2021 and id is 1 raw text is: AN INTRODUCTORY STUDY OF TEXAS COURT STRUCTURE AND JUDICIAL ELECTIONS:
DOES HAVING TWO HIGH COURTS MATTER?
BILLY MONROE* NATHAN K. MITCHELL** AND LEE PAYNE, PH.D.***
ABSTRACT
The presence of two courts of last resort in Texas, the Supreme Court and Court of Criminal
Appeals, make it possible to study general election results held over a twenty-year period by using a
variety of statistical tools to test the impact that subject matter jurisdiction (civil versus criminal) has
on the outcomes of an election. Traditionally, judicial elections have been expected to be decided by
party affiliation, campaign financing, and incumbency, but that understanding is incomplete. The
comparative analysis in this article shows that the variables influencing election outcomes for seats on
the Texas Supreme Court are different than those influencing outcomes on the Texas Court of
Criminal Appeals. This article also provides new insights by gauging the significance that
demographics (race, gender), previous experience (as a lower court judge or in the political branches),
and support in the legal community (as measured by the bar poll) have on winning judicial elections.
1. INTRODUCTION
Hall and Bonneau's work on money and partisanship in state judicial elections' has sparked debate
on which other variables should be included in analytical models of judicial selection. In general,
judicial elections are important to study. Because the candidate pools are so specialized, it is hard to
determine whether traditional measures of candidate quality are really important to models of success.
One important question that is somewhat unaddressed in this area is whether or not subject matter
jurisdiction influences the politics of selection. This study will examine the case of Texas.
Texas is one of two states with two courts of last resort, meaning that two entities occupy the
space of supreme judicial review in the state-the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas
* Associate Professor at Prairie View A&M University.
** Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas.
*** Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.
1 Melinda Gann Hall & Chris W. Bonne au, Does Qualiy Matter? Challengers in State Supreme Court Elections, 50 AM. J. POL.
Sci. 20, 20-33 (2006).

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