This court’s job is to defend the rule of law, a bedrock to our country’s success and survival. It must decide the cases appealed to it and it must explain its reasoning in a public opinion. Its opinions are binding on all of the trial courts in this appellate court’s jurisdiction and have a state wide impact. Those opinions must be clear, concise, and consistent so people can make informed decisions about their how to run their businesses, plan their lives, and protect their property.
As an example of this court’s importance, when a statute becomes law, 182 legislators have played a role in making that statute the state’s public policy. Likewise, the governor has added his or her signature. That is 183 elected public officials have made the state’s public policy.
That statute can come before the court of appeals to decide whether that statute is valid, what does it mean, and how does it apply. There will be three justices hearing the case. Very few people will know who those justices are and even fewer will have paid attention to the election process. Yet, those three people in effect have the power to remove that statute from the books or to interpret it in a way that the public or the legislature never intended. It is thus very important to know who those justices are, to know that they have the correct understanding of the court’s limited constitutional role, and to know that they have the judgment, common sense, experience, integrity, analytical skill, academic excellence, and ability to decide the case correctly.
Located in Dallas, the Fifth Court of Appeals is the largest court of appeals in Texas, with twelve Justices and one Chief Justice, and is the intermediate appellate court serving Collin, Dallas, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties. As such, its opinions have an impact statewide.