Texas Supreme Court Convenes At Baylor Law School

  • News Photo 273
    Justices of the Texas Supreme Court at Baylor Law School: (L to R) Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, Justice Deborah G. Hankinson, Justice Priscilla Owen, Justice Nathan L. Hecht, Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips, Justice Craig T. Enoch, Justice James A. Baker, Justice Harriet O'Neill, and Justice Xavier Rodriguez.
  • News Photo 272
    (L to R) Justice Deborah G. Hankinson, Justice Priscilla Owen, and Justice Nathan L. Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court hear arguments in S.A.M., et al. v. HCA Inc., et al., from Harris County and the 14th District Court of Appeals, Houston.
  • News Photo 271
    David E. Keltner of Jose, Henry, Brantley & Keltner, Fort Worth, represents the petitioners in S.A.M., et al. v. HCA Inc., et al., from Harris County and the 14th District Court of Appeals, Houston.
  • News Photo 270
    Justice Harriet O'Neill and Justice Xavier Rodriguez of the Texas Supreme Court hear arguments in S.A.M., et al. v. HCA Inc., et al., from Harris County and the 14th District Court of Appeals, Houston.
  • News Photo 269
    Karla H. Miller and J. Mark Miller.
  • News Photo 268
    (L to R) Justice Deborah G. Hankinson of the Texas Supreme Court asks a question during arguments in S.A.M., et al. v. HCA Inc., et al., from Harris County and the 14th District Court of Appeals, Houston.
  • News Photo 267
    Mike A. Hatchell of Hatchell P.C., Tyler, represents the respondents in S.A.M., et al. v. HCA Inc., et al., from Harris County and the 14th District Court of Appeals, Houston.
  • News Photo 266
    (L to R) Justice Craig T. Enoch of the Texas Supreme Court asks a question during arguments in S.A.M., et al. v. HCA Inc., et al., from Harris County and the 14th District Court of Appeals, Houston.
  • News Photo 265
    A full house at the Kronzer Appellate Advocacy Courtroom at Baylor Law School observed two cases before the Texas Supreme Court, which convened April 3 in the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center at Baylor.
  • News Photo 264
    Students, citizens and participants in the cases before the Texas Supreme Court viewed the proceedings in the octagonal-shaped Kronzer Appellate Advocacy Courtroom at Baylor's Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.
  • News Photo 263
    A full house at the Kronzer Appellate Advocacy Courtroom at Baylor Law School observed two cases before the Texas Supreme Court, which convened April 3 in the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center at Baylor.
  • News Photo 262
    Lisa R. Eskow of the Office of the Attorney General, Austin, represents the petitioners in Wichita Falls State Hospital v. Deborah D. Taylor, from Johnson County and the 10th District Court of Appeals, Waco.
  • News Photo 261
    Justice Wallace B. Jefferson of the Texas Supreme Court asks a question as the court hears Wichita Falls State Hospital v. Deborah D. Taylor, from Johnson County and the 10th District Court of Appeals, Waco.
  • News Photo 260
    James B. Barlow of Barlow & Garsek, Fort Worth, represents the respondents in Wichita Falls State Hospital v. Deborah D. Taylor, from Johnson County and the 10th District Court of Appeals, Waco.
  • News Photo 259
    Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips asks a question as the court hears Wichita Falls State Hospital v. Deborah D. Taylor, from Johnson County and the 10th District Court of Appeals, Waco.
  • News Photo 274
    High school students who attended the Texas Supreme Court hearings at Baylor Law School get their picture taken with the nine justices.
April 3, 2002

by Alan Hunt

The Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases April 3 before overflow crowds at Baylor Law School's new home on the banks of the Brazos River, the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center. It was the court's second visit to Baylor since a 1998 constitutional amendment allowed the justices to convene for the first time ever outside of Austin.

A capacity audience of more than 140 gathered in the Jim Kronzer Appellate Advocacy Courtroom to observe the state's highest court in session. The law school also provided a closed circuit broadcast for additional spectators and media to view the proceedings in one of the school's large classrooms.

The Texas Supreme Court convened in 1998 at Baylor Law School's former home, Morrison Constitution Hall, which was the court's first-ever venture outside the capital city. The nine justices, then and now, include two distinguished Baylor alumni, Chief Justice Tom Phillips (BA '71) and Justice Priscilla Owen (BA '76, JD '77).

Since then, says John Adams, clerk of the court, the justices have convened at every law school in Texas, along with visits to various university campuses and high schools. Following their Baylor visit April 3, the justices will hold a hearing at the University of Texas at Tyler on April 16, and on April 17 they will convene at a high school in Longview.

In addition to the 1998 Texas Supreme Court visit, the Law School has previously hosted hearings by higher courts at its former home, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Kronzer courtroom in the new law center was specifically designed to accommodate visiting justices. The Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center, built at a cost of $33 million, was officially opened for classes on August 27, 2001.

Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben said the justices' visit was eagerly awaited by members of the law school community.

"It gives the students an opportunity to observe the protocol and proceedings of the court and to experience the unique atmosphere of a Supreme Court hearing," Toben said.

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