This past year presented some unique challenges for the judiciary, and specifically for the Supreme Court of Texas.  The court confronted a pandemic, a ransomeware attack, and some unusual election-year court filings.  In spite of these challenges, the court persevered and performed.  Here’s what my initial calculations show:

  • During the 2020 calendar year, the court disposed of 97 causes, consisting of 82 petitions for review, 12 original proceedings, and 3 certified questions.  By comparison, last year, the court disposed of 88 causes, and in 2018, the court disposed of 98 causes.
  • 30 of the causes were disposed of by per curiam opinions (unsigned opinions).  Last year, the court issued 19 per curiam opinions.  In 2018, the court issued 24 per curiam opinions.
  • The number of opinions in original proceedings was higher than the prior year.  Some of the increase is due to election-year filings.
  • The reversal rate in causes from petitions for review remained steady at 77%.
  • One new statistic that I looked at was the number of causes with unanimous opinions.  Excluding per curiam opinions, there were 65 unanimous opinions in causes from petitions for review, 10 unanimous opinions in original proceedings, and 2 unanimous opinions in certified question causes.  Overall there was some disagreement in 20 percent of the court’s decisions.

I will be releasing additional statistics from the 2020 term in the coming weeks, so stay tuned…

By Published On: January 4, 2021Categories: AppellateTags: , ,


Avatar of Mike Northrup
Mike Northrup is a Shareholder and Section Head of the Cowles and Thompson Appellate Practice Group. He practices in both the trial and appellate courts in cases involving personal injury, insurance issues, employment law, commercial disputes, and zoning disputes. He also provides litigation support to attorneys in other sections of the firm. Mike served as a briefing attorney for former Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips, Texas Supreme Court, 1988-89. He has taught as an adjunct professor at Hastings College of Law and SMU Dedman School of Law. He is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.