After serving 15 years on the state’s highest civil court, Justice Paul Green announced he will be retiring in August, leaving the spot vacant for Gov. Greg Abbott to appoint a replacement.
Green was originally elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 2004, after defeating a sitting justice in a Republican primary election—a rare occurrence now.
Members of the Texas Supreme Court are elected to six-year terms in partisan elections.
Though Texas has an elected court, if a member retires during an unexpired term, the governor has the power to appoint a successor to fill the remainder of their term. It has become common practice in recent years for justices to retire during the middle of their terms in order to trigger a gubernatorial appointment, leading to a hybrid system in which most justices are appointed by the governor before later facing the voters.
Of the current nine justices on the Texas Supreme Court, six were originally placed on the court through appointments. The most recent occurrence when a justice won their seat through an electoral challenge was in 2013, when Justice John Devine defeated incumbent David Medina in the Republican primary.
Green’s term expires in January 2023, and he is slated to officially step down in August.