Texas Supreme Court justices launch return of biannual road trips with public Q. and A. in downtown Fort Worth

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Three justices of the Texas Supreme Court will conduct a rare public information/question-and-answer session today (May 4) at the Fort Worth Club in downtown Fort Worth.

The free session will take place at 1:30 p.m. and is open to the public. The Fort Worth Club is located at 306 W. 7th St.

Place 3 Justice Debra Lehrmann, Place 5 Justice Rebeca Huddle and Place 9 Justice Evan A. Young will take part in the session to help usher in the return of Texas Supreme Court road trips.

It’s been a tradition of the Texas Supreme Court to take twice-a-year road trips to hear oral arguments in cases in different parts of the state. The practice was instituted after voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1997 to allow the court to meet outside of Austin.

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Today’s public session isn’t an official court road trip since there will be only three justices present and no court business, but it is an opportunity for the public to meet and interact with the justices and learn about the work of the court.

“During the pandemic we weren’t able to take our spring and fall trips to hear oral arguments,” said Lehrmann, the longest-serving of the three justices. “We are now just getting back to doing them again.”

The three Republican judges, who are all running for re-election, are scheduled to attend a campaign fundraiser in Fort Worth earlier in the day. They have another event scheduled in the evening in Dallas, Lehrmann said.

Since they had time between the events, Lehrmann said, they decided to conduct the public session in Fort Worth, which she described as an “education opportunity.”

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It’s been rare that the members of the state’s highest court have appeared in public in Fort Worth.

The court’s last visit to Fort Worth was in October 2019, when the nine justices gathered at the Texas A&M University School of Law to hear oral arguments in an appeal of the rowdy legal drama involving feuding owners of Billy Bob’s Texas. The hearing attracted throngs of attorneys, judges, law students and interested observers. Some were able to watch the proceedings live while others observed via TV monitors in other classrooms.

The 2019 court session, held shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, was the court’s second visit to Fort Worth. The first took place when the downtown Fort Worth law school now operated by Texas A&M was part of Texas Wesleyan University.

Huddle and Young, the newest members of the court, were appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott after the 2019 session in Fort Worth. Huddle replaced Justice Paul Green, who retired in August 2020. Young was appointed in 2021 to replace Justice Eva Guzman, who resigned to run for Texas Attorney General in the March 1 primary. She lost her bid.

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