Dem candidate for Texas CJ says Justices stumping, neglecting cases

Rob Luke Feb. 7, 2008, 5:20am

Judge Jim Jordan

AUSTIN -- The Democratic candidate for Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court has bashed the state's top bench for continuing to pile up more unresolved cases.

The Texas Supreme Court had a record backlog of 111 cases at the end of fiscal 2007 (Aug. 31), of which 36 have lasted more than a year and 13 for more than two. It has also increased the average number of cases it hears by more than a third over the past four years, reports have noted.

Texas District Court Judge Jim Jordan said delays caused by the Supreme Court hearing arguments but not ruling on the cases "create a distrust in the system." Jordan is challenging Republican incumbent Wallace B. Jefferson for the SC Chief Justice spot in November's election.

In announcing his candidacy last month, Jordan said he was running for Chief Justice because "[w]hen the system is broken, the responsibility must fall on the leader." He accused the Justices of "failing to do their work as the backlog in cases has reached record levels."

Texas Supreme Court Justices have been criticized for spending more time campaigning for partisan elections than in considering cases and writing opinions. Jefferson said he is also urging the Justices not to write so many separate concurring and dissenting opinions.

Jefferson was appointed Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court by GOP Gov. Rick Perry in September 2004.

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