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About Justices of Texas 1836-1986

As courts of last resort, the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals have shaped the rights of Texas citizens over the state's existence. The individuals who served on these courts came from a wide variety of backgrounds and contributed to the history of Texas in many different ways. Justices of Texas 1836-1986 portrays these diverse individuals, places their contributions in the context of Texas history and jurisprudence, and enables the public to gain a better understanding of the history of the state courts and their impact on the lives of Texas residents and businesses.

In addition to providing biographical and bibliographic information for each justice, Justices of Texas 1836-1986 cites important opinions authored by the justices and provides links to constitutional provisions that those opinions interpret. The Texas court timeline shows the evolution of the state's judiciary from the municipal alcalde of the early 19th century and the creation of the Texas Supreme Court in 1840 to the 1980 court reorganization which vested intermediate appellate jurisdiction for criminal cases in the appellate courts.

Justices of Texas 1836-1986 and Texas Constitutions 1824-1876 are two digital collections created by Tarlton Law Library in order to highlight Texas legal history. The collections of the Tarlton Law Library are rich in materials that depict Texas history, its jurisprudence, and the personalities of the individuals who have made important contributions to Texas legal history. The digital collections will enable the Library to share its collections and other resources with a wide audience and will encourage researchers and scholars to explore Texas legal history topics.

For more information about this project, please contact Jane O'Connell, Deputy Director (; 512-471-8761).

Project goals

The goal of the Justices of Texas 1836-1986 and Texas Constitutions 1824-1876 is to open at least a portion of the special collections of Tarlton Law Library to a wide audience and to highlight important documents in the history of Texas jurisprudence and the individuals who shaped Texas legal history.

Texas Constitutions 1824-1876 provides page images of the constitutions of Texas in effect from 1824 to 1876. Also included are copies of journals and debates of the constitutional conventions at which those constitutions were adopted. The resource links provisions of the several constitutions to those portions of the journals and debates where those provisions were discussed.

Justices of Texas 1836-1986 includes, for each member of the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals between 1836 and 1986, a portrait and biography, citations to opinions authored, and links to additional resources.

By undertaking these projects Tarlton Law Library seeks to:

1 . Make important Texas historical and legal materials more readily accessible to members of the public;

2 . Make unique special collections materials available to users at institutions throughout the state;

3 . Advance knowledge in the field of Texas history and Texas legal studies;

4 . Enhance the education of a wide range of library users;

5. Remove the physical barriers that prohibit many library users from accessing important Texas historical and legal materials;

6. Reduce damage to important Texas historical and legal materials caused by physical access to rare books; and

7. Preserve important Texas historical and legal materials in an alternative media to paper-based documents; and

8. Highlight the Law Library as the premier center for legal research in the State of Texas.