BYLAWS OF THE JUDICIAL SECTION
OF THE STATE BAR OF TEXAS
Name, Purpose and Mission
Section 1. Name. This Section shall be known as the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas.
Section 2. Purpose. The purpose of this Section shall be to promote the objectives of the Judiciary and the State Bar of Texas, and to take such action as may be appropriate to accomplish this,, subject to the Bylaws of this Section, the State Bar Act, State Bar Rules and State Bar Board Policy Manual.
Section 3. Mission Statement. The Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas advances the interests of the Texas judiciary, works to improve the quality of justice in Texas, examines issues affecting the judicial system, fosters public education about the judicial system and matters of concern to the judiciary, promotes dialogue and collaboration among judges, and provides a forum to discuss matters of concern to judges.
Section 1. Eligibility. Any member of the State Bar of Texas who is a sitting, visiting, retired, former, or federal Judge or Justice, or a full-time associate Judge of a court with jurisdiction in Texas, excluding municipal and justice of the peace courts, whose right to serve has not been formally suspended or terminated, shall be enrolled as a member of the section, upon payment of dues.
Section 2. Dues. Members of this Section shall pay annual dues in an amount to be fixed by the Judicial Section Board of Directors, subject to the approval of the State Bar Board of Directors.
Officers and Board of Directors
Section 1. Officers and Executive Committee. The officers of this Section shall be: Chair, Immediate Past Chair, Chair-Elect, and Secretary-Treasurer. The officers shall constitute the Executive Committee of the Judicial Section Board of Directors. The Executive Committee shall be empowered to take action with regard to the time-sensitive affairs of the Section, between meetings of its Board of Directors.
Section 2. Chair. The currently serving Chair-Elect shall automatically become the Chair of the Judicial Section at the close of the Section’s Annual Meeting, and only nominations for the positions of Chair-Elect and elected members of the Board of Directors shall be received and voted upon, as provided by these Bylaws.
Section 3. Chair-Elect. The Chair-Elect shall be nominated and elected at each annual meeting of the Section, according to the Nominations and Elections procedure described in these Bylaws, for a term beginning with election and ending with the election of a successor. Nominations for the position of Chair-Elect shall be conducted in such a manner as to ensure that the position rotates in a four-year cycle according to the following schedule: (a) an intermediate appellate justice, (b) a district court judge, (c) a statutory county court judge, (d) a district court judge. A district court judge shall serve in fiscal years that end in an odd number and an intermediate appellate justice and a statutory county court judge shall rotate service in fiscal years that end in an even number.
Section 4. Secretary-Treasurer. The Chair, with the advice and consent of the Board of Directors, shall appoint a Secretary-Treasurer, who shall serve during the term of the appointing Chair, until a successor is appointed
Section 5. Board Composition. There shall be a Board of Directors charged with managing the affairs of the Section. The Board of Directors shall consist of the following positions: The Chair, the Chair-Elect, the Secretary-Treasurer, the Immediate Past Chair and thirteen other members who shall be elected for a term of three years, using the process described in these Bylaws. The thirteen regular members shall be elected according to the following places:
Places 1 and 2 - Intermediate appellate court justices,
Places 3 through 7 - District judges
Places 8 and 9 - Judges of a statutory county court,
Place 10 - Retired judge or justice,
Place 11 – A justice of the Texas Supreme Court,
Place 12 – A judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals.
Place 13 – A full-time associate judge.
5.1. Presiding Judge of an Administrative Judicial Region Liaison. The Chair shall appoint a Presiding Judge of an Administrative Judicial Region as an ex officio member of the Judicial Section Board, for a term of one year, unless one is already serving as an elected member. The Presiding Judges shall designate who is willing to serve in this position.
5.2.Texas Center for the Judiciary Liaison. The Chair shall appoint a member of the Texas Center for the Judiciary Board of Directors as an ex officio member of the Judicial Section Board, for a term of one year, to serve as liaison between the Center and the Judicial Section. The Chair of the Texas Center for the Judiciary shall designate who is willing to serve in this position.
5.3. Geographic Representation. Insofar as practicable, each geographical area of the State shall be represented by at least one member of the Board of Directors.
Section 6. Independent Board. No officer or member of the Board of Directors of the Judicial Section may serve concurrently as an officer or member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Center for the Judiciary.
Section 7. Judicial Status of Chair. Nothing in these Bylaws, nor any action of the Board of Directors, shall cause a deviation from the rotation schedule of the Chair and Chair-Elect, as defined by these Bylaws.
Section 8. Change in Judicial Status. All officers and members of the Board of Directors shall be current judicial officeholders, unless serving in Place 10, as a retired judge or justice. A member of the Board of Directors who leaves the bench or changes judicial status must resign from the Board, unless serving in Place 10.
Section 1. Legislative Committees. There shall be a Legislative Committee composed of thirteen members, each serving a three year term, and ex-officio members, each serving a one year term. Before November 1, each Chair of the Judicial Section shall appoint new members for any expiring terms, and shall designate one member to serve as Chair of the Committee for one year. The Chair, Chair-Elect, and Immediate Past Chair of the Section shall be ex-officio members of the Committee for the term of their respective offices, unless they are already serving a regular term on the committee. 1.1 Legislative Committee Composition. The Legislative Committee shall be representative of the judges of the Section Board and geographically apportioned. The committee shall be composed of six district judges, three judges of a statutory county court, three appellate court justices, and one full-time associate judge. One of the thirteen committee members shall be a retired district judge or retired appellate justice. The other members shall be current judicial officeholders.
1.2 Legislative Sub-Committees. Before November 1, each Chair of the Judicial Section shall appoint a Chair and members to the following legislative sub-committees: Civil Law, Criminal Justice, Family Law, and Juvenile Justice.
1.3 Legislative Committee and Sub-Committees’ Purpose. The purpose of the Legislative Committee and Legislative Sub-Committees shall be to advance and report on legislative matters of interest to the judiciary, subject to the rules and restrictions outlined in the State Bar Act, State Bar Rules and State Bar Board Policy Manual.
Section 2. Nominations Committee. Before April 1 of each year, the Chair of the Judicial Section shall appoint a Nominations Committee consisting of one member from each judicial region. The Nominations Committee shall serve until the conclusion of the next annual meeting. The Nominations Committee shall be charged with submitting nominations for Chair-Elect and for any expiring Board positions.
Section 3. Ethics Committee. There shall be an Ethics Committee composed of nine members serving three staggered, three year terms. Before November 1, each Chair of the Judicial Section shall appoint new members for any expiring terms and shall designate one member to serve as Chair of the Committee for one year. The Ethics Committee shall be charged with addressing ethical questions submitted by members of the Section and shall, from time to time, issue written opinions on ethical issues of importance to the judiciary.
Section 4. Bylaws and Resolutions Committee. Before November 1, each Chair of the Judicial Section shall appoint a Bylaws and Resolutions Committee and shall designate one member to serve as Chair of the Committee. The Bylaws and Resolutions Committee shall draft resolution or bylaw amendments for consideration by the Board of Directors the committee believes are appropriate and solicit resolution and bylaw amendments from the Section membership. Any member of the Judicial Section may propose adoption of a resolution or Bylaw amendment by presenting same to the Chair of the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee by May 1. Upon receipt of a proposed resolution or Bylaw amendment, the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee shall review the proposal and make recommendations to the Board of Directors whether the proposal should be submitted to the Section membership at the Section’s annual meeting. If a majority of the Board of Directors approves submission of a proposed resolution or Bylaws amendment to the Section membership, the proposed amendment shall be voted on by the Section membership present at the Section’s annual meeting. Adoption of proposed resolutions and Bylaws shall occur if approved by a majority of the Section membership present and voting at the Section’s Annual meeting. Any proposed resolution or Bylaw amendment shall be made available in writing to the Section membership, by posting on the Section’s website, at least 30 days before the Section’s annual meeting.
Section 5. Other Committees. The Chair may create other committees as necessary to carry on the work of the Judicial Section, and the membership of such a committee shall be appointed by the Chair.
Nominations and Elections
Section 1. Duties of Nominations Committee. The Nominations Committee shall solicit nominations from the section membership for the office of Chair-Elect and for members to serve on the Board of Directors for any expiring terms. The Nominations Committee shall meet to consider the nominations and shall recommend a slate of nominees to fill those positions. In considering nominees for membership on the Board of Directors, attention shall be given to maintaining geographical representation.
Section 2. Notification to Section. The slate of nominees shall be made available in writing to the section membership by posting on the Section’s website, at least 30 days before the Section’s Annual Meeting, and shall be furnished to the members of the Section during the Section’s Annual Meeting, together with the information that additional nominations may be made from the floor.
Section 3. Process. At the Annual Meeting of the Section, the slate of nominees recommended by the Nominations Committee and any nominations made from the floor shall be placed in nomination.
Section 4. Election. The Chair-Elect and members of the Board of Directors shall be elected by a majority vote of Section members present and voting during the Annual Meeting of the Section. The Chair-Elect candidate who receives a majority vote shall be elected to serve for one year as Chair-Elect. The nominee for any open place on the Board of Directors who receives a majority vote shall be elected to serve for a term of three years.
Duties of the Officers
Section 1. Chair. The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Section,Board of Directors, and Executive Committee, and shall take action to accomplish the objectives and business of the Section, and perform such other duties and acts as usually pertain to this office.
1.1 Report to Membership. The Chair, with the assistance of the Secretary-Treasurer, shall formulate and present a report of the work of the Section for the year, for publication in the July issue of the Texas Bar Journal and for presentation to the Section membership at its Annual Meeting.
1.2 Texas Center for the Judiciary Liaison. The Chair of this Section shall serve as liaison to the Board of Directors of the Texas Center for the Judiciary, or, in the alternative, shall appoint another member of the Judicial Section Board of Directors to serve in this capacity. The liaison shall attend all Board of Directors meetings of the Texas Center for the Judiciary and shall report to the Board of Directors of the Section on all matters of interest, including matters requiring cooperation between the Section and the Texas Center for the Judiciary.
Section 2. Chair-Elect. Upon the death, resignation, suspension, removal, termination, or during the disability of the Chair, or upon the Chair’s refusal to act, the Chair-Elect shall perform the duties of the Chair for the remainder of the Chair’s term. In the case of the Chair’s disability the Chair-Elect shall serve only so long as the Chair’s disability continues.
Section 3. Secretary-Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be the custodian of all books, papers, documents, and other property of the Section, including money. The Secretary-Treasurer shall record the proceedings of all meetings and actions of the Executive Committee and the Judicial Section’s Board of Directors, and shall keep a true record of all monies appropriated to, and expended by the Section. The Secretary-Treasurer shall submit copies of all investment reports, monthly bank statements, canceled checks, deposit slips, and monthly check registers to the State Bar Accounting Office, immediately upon receipt of same.
Duties and Powers of the Board of Directors
Section 1. Duties of the Board. The Judicial Section Board of Directors shall have general supervision and control of the affairs of the Section subject to the provisions of these Bylaws and the State Bar Act, State Bar Rules and State Bar Board Policy Manual. The Board of Directors shall authorize all commitments or contracts which shall entail the payment of money, and shall authorize the expenditure of all monies available for the use or benefit of the Section.
Section 2. Quorum. All binding actions of the Board of Directors shall be by a majority vote of the members of the Judicial Section Board of Directors who are present and voting, either in person or by telephone or video conferencing.
Section 3. Actions In Lieu of Meeting. In lieu of calling a formal meeting of the Board of Directors, the Chair of the Judicial Section may submit any proposition upon which the Board of Directors may be authorized to act to the Board, and the members of the Board may vote upon such proposition by communicating their vote, in any manner designated by the Chair, to the Secretary-Treasurer. The votes of the members of the Board shall be recorded in the minutes and communicated immediately to the entire Board. A majority vote of the Board shall constitute the binding action of the Board of Directors.
Section 1. Removal for Conduct. If any director or officer is suspended, removed or terminated by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, or by any other authority of the State of Texas, or is convicted of any felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, the office held by such person shall be deemed vacant.
Section 2. Inability to Serve and Effect on Board Positions. Except as provided in Sections 5 and 7, upon any member of the Board of Directors’ incapacitation, resignation, suspension, termination, retirement, death, or change in judicial status, that place shall be deemed vacant for the remainder of the year and filled at the next annual section meeting.
Section 3. Removal for Absences. If any member of the Board of Directors accumulates two consecutive absences from properly noticed meetings, that are not excused by the Chair, the Chair shall notify the Board member that his/her position is deemed vacated. The Board member may request reinstatement by the Executive Committee within 30 days of notification. The Executive Committee shall review the request for reinstatement. The decision made by the Executive Committee regarding the vacancy shall be final.
Section 4. Vacancies on the Board. Any vacancy occurring in places 1-13 shall be filled on the recommendation of the Chair and affirmed by the Board of Directors. The new member shall serve the remainder of any unexpired term.
Section 5. Vacancy by the Chair-Elect. In the case of a vacancy in the Chair-Elect position due to a change in the Chair-Elect’s judicial status, the Board of Directors, at the next regularly scheduled meeting after the vacancy occurs, shall appoint a qualified Section member to serve as Chair-Elect for the remainder of the year .The Nominations Committee shall name the appointed Chair-Elect as its nominee for Chair in the slate of nominees for the next scheduled election. Nominations for the Chair position will also be accepted from the floor, and the Chair shall be elected by a majority vote of those Section members present and voting at the Section’s Annual Meeting.
Section 6. Vacancy by Chair. In the case of a vacancy in the Chair’s position, the Chair-Elect shall perform the duties of the Chair for the remainder of the Chair’s term. In the case of the Chair’s disability, the Chair-Elect shall perform the Chair’s duties only during so much of the term as the disability continues.
Section 7. Vacancy by Chair and Chair-Elect. In the case of a simultaneous vacancy in the Chair and Chair-Elect’s positions, the Treasurer shall call and preside over a special meeting of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall elect one of its members as Chair to serve for the remainder of the year who is qualified to serve, according to the rotation schedule described in these Bylaws. The Board of Directors shall also appoint a qualified Section member to serve as Chair-Elect for the remainder of the year who will be the nominee for Chair in the Nominations Committee’s slate of nominees for the next scheduled election.
Section 1. Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting of the Section shall be held at a time and place to be determined by the Judicial Section Board of Directors, with such program and such order of business as may be formulated by the Chair of the Section, with the advice and consent of the Board of Directors.
Section 2. Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Section may be called by the Chair at such time and place as the Chair and Board of Directors may determine.
Section 3. Quorum. The Section members present at any properly noticed meeting shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. All binding action of the Section shall be by a majority vote of the section members present.
Section 4. Notice of Meeting. Notice of the Section’s Annual Meeting and any special meeting of the Section membership shall be provided at least 30 days in advance, by posting on the Section’s website and by sending written notice to the Section’s membership.
Section 1. No Compensation. No salary or compensation shall be paid to any officer, Board of Directors member, or member of any committee.
Section 2. Expenditures of Funds. Any unbudgeted expenditure over $2500, to any entity, in a fiscal year, must be approved by a vote of the full Board of Directors.
Section 3. Contractual Obligations. Any contract spanning more than one fiscal year, either express or implied, must be approved by a vote of the full Board of Directors.
Section 4. Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of the Judicial Section shall commence on June 1 of each calendar year and terminate May 31 of the following calendar year.
Section 5. State Bar Audit. The Section must maintain accurate financial books and records and have appropriate controls on the maintenance and disbursement of the Section’s funds, all in a fashion that permits the inclusion of the Section’s financial information in the State Bar’s financial statements and audit. The Section will submit a budget to the Executive Director of the State Bar by July 15th of each year for the current fiscal year.
Section 6. Investments. Section funds can only be invested within the parameters outlined in the investment policy set forth in the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors’ Policy Manual, as amended.
Section 1. Advocacy. No position may be taken by the Judicial Section, or its members in the name of the Section, that advocates or advances a political or social policy position. However, this shall not be construed so as to prohibit the support for, or advancement of, proposed changes in state laws or court rules designed to improve the judicial branch of government. The Judicial Section Board of Directors may request permission from the State Bar Board of Directors to support, oppose, or advance a neutral opinion regarding any proposed legal or legislative issue, subject to an affirmative vote of at least three-fourths (3/4th) of the members of the Judicial Section Board of Directors who are present and voting.
Section 2. Confidential Information. lnformation concerning any Section member that is deemed confidential by state or federal law, including Tex. Govt. Code Ch. 552 and Tex. Occ. Code Ch. 59, including email addresses, may be used only for official section business and may not be disclosed to the public or to any third party. The Section will take reasonable and necessary precautions to protect the confidentiality of all such information.
Section 1. Board Approval. Any amendments to these Bylaws must first be approved by a majority vote of the Judicial Section Board of Directors present and voting at a properly noticed meeting.
Section 2. Notice to Membership of Amendments. After approval by the Board of Directors, any proposed amendments to these Bylaws shall be made available for review by the full membership by posting on the Section’s website at least 30 days prior to the Section’s Annual Meeting
Section 3. Membership Approval. After Board approval, amendments to these Bylaws must be approved by a majority vote of the Section members present and voting during the Section’s Annual Meeting.
Section 4. Effective Date. Amendments to these Bylaws must receive final approval by the State Bar Board of Directors, in accordance with current State Bar policies and procedures, and shall become effective on the date of that approval.
Approved by the State Bar Board of Directors on the 23rd day September, 2021.