State of the Judiciary Messages

Every two years, the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court prepares a state of the judiciary message. This message is usually delivered as a speech given to a joint session of the legislature. The audience at the joint session includes representatives, senators, and often also includes members of the judiciary and other dignitaries.

This message is mandated by Government Code § 21.004:

(a) At a convenient time at the commencement of each regular session of the legislature, the chief justice of the supreme court shall deliver a written or oral state of the judiciary message evaluating the accessibility of the courts to the citizens of the state and the future directions and needs of the courts of the state.

(b) It is the intent of the legislature that the state of the judiciary message promote better understanding between the legislative and judicial branches of government and promote more efficient administration of justice in Texas.

The original legislation mandating a state of the judiciary message passed in 1977 during the 65th Legislature. The law was updated in 1985 as part of a nonsubstantive revision of statutes relating to the judiciary. It was then amended in 1993 to specify that the message may be written or oral.

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The State Law Library gives special thanks to the Texas Supreme Court and the Office of Court Administration for previously digitizing some of these messages.

page last updated: 19 Jul 2023 5:00 PM