Supreme Court of Texas Blog: Legal Issues Before the Texas Supreme Court

Where does each case stand on the Texas Supreme Court docket?

The Texas Supreme Court considers cases in several steps. Like the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Supreme Court has discretion over which cases it decides. Litigants must first persuade the Court that the issue presented is important enough to warrant the Court's attention.

The first step is the petition stage, in which the Court considers a short brief identifying the key issues. The party opposing review can choose to file a response. If it does not, then the Court can request one. At the petition stage, the Court's primary goal is to determine whether to request full briefing on the merits.

The second step is the briefing stage, in which the Court considers full merits briefs filed by the parties. Generally, a law clerk will draw up a detailed study memo analyzing the record and the issues.

The Court then has three basic options: (1) to deny review, (2) to grant review, choosing the case for future oral argument, or (3) to hold the petition for possible disposition without an oral argument. The first two options are made public on orders lists. The third option can only be guessed from studying the status of petitions on the Court's docket.