Gov. Greg Abbott has announced his inaugural appointments to the state’s new Fifteenth Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over lawsuits involving the state.

The court was created last year to ease the burden on the other appeals courts and has intermediate appellate jurisdiction over appeals involving disputes brought by or against Texas and its officers. It also has jurisdiction over challenges to the constitutionality of state statutes and exclusive jurisdiction to review judgments from Texas’ business courts. 

“Last year, I worked with the Texas Legislature to pass a law creating a centralized court of appeals to resolve public law disputes and constitutional challenges that impact Texans across our great state, as well as appeals from the first-ever Texas business courts,” said Abbott in a press release. “Today, those plans come to fruition, and I am proud to appoint the first three members of the Fifteenth Court of Appeals. These highly experienced individuals will serve a vital role in our state’s effort to ensure that the Texas Constitution and state statutes are applied uniformly throughout Texas and that businesses have a sophisticated and efficient process to resolve their disputes. I look forward to working with them as we continue to create a bigger, better Texas for all.”

Abbott appointed Scott A. Brister to Place 1, Scott K. Field to Place 2,  and April L. Farris to Place 3 on the new court. 

Brister, of Austin, is currently a senior partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. He previously served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Texas, justice and chief justice of the First and Fourteenth Courts of Appeals, and judge of the 234th Judicial District Court. 

Field, of Liberty Hill, is currently a judge of the 480th Judicial District Court in Williamson County. He previously served as a justice on the Third Court of Appeals.

Farris, of Houston, currently sits as a justice on the First Court of Appeals–where she has served since January 2021. She formerly served as an assistant solicitor general for the Texas Solicitor General’s Office. 

The judge’s terms are effective September 1, 2024, and are set to expire on December 31, 2026, or when their successors are duly elected. The Fifteenth Court of Appeals judges will be elected statewide, rather than geographically like the other fourteen courts of appeals. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.

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