ABA Journal



Texas bill would require state judges to show up for work

Jan 23, 2013, 06:42 pm CST


This doesn't seem a lot to ask.

By B. McLeod on 2013 01 24, 12:23 am CST

No, but should it really be necessary to legislate this? Next thing you know, they'll pass a law requiring all public employees to show up for work. Then they'll require them to actually DO the work they were hired for. When will it stop?

By publius on 2013 01 24, 4:02 pm CST

This is an excellent bill. Unfortunately, once elected, some forget about the job and enjoy the perks, and/or campaigning for the next election or looking into the next step up the ladder.

By Twila J. Ramsey on 2013 01 24, 6:51 pm CST

I think most of the party in power would be grossly offended by a law that prevents the majority of their constituents from sitting at home laying on their posteriors with remote in hand.

By DeSotomyer on 2013 01 25, 10:15 am CST

This most reasonable of laws is most likely an unconstitutional invasion by the legislature of the Judicial branch of government. Can you imagine the judges ordering the legislature to work?

By Howard on 2013 01 25, 11:53 am CST

Wow, show up and be on time a new concept.

By cathy on 2013 01 25, 1:46 pm CST

We could use this in New York. When was the last time the Court of Appeals showed up for work in the summer?

By NYS Courts ex wife on 2013 01 25, 1:50 pm CST

I strongly suspect this bill is occasioned by the conduct of one particular judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

By Wildcatjudge on 2013 01 25, 1:58 pm CST

The fact that a state's legislature (ANY state's legislature) would feel the need to pass such a law is a sad commentary on the mindset of many members of the elected judiciary. Obviously, there are always going to be bad apples in every barrel. But the bad apples negatively impact those who take their work seriously. As the earlier comments demonstrate, Texas must not be the only state with elected judges who believe they're not required to show up for work on a regular basis. Perhaps this is just one more reason (to add to a very long list of reasons) why judges shouldn't be elected. (And no, I will not set out all of the other reasons in another comment.)

By David on 2013 01 25, 2:13 pm CST

Is there a law in Texas that requires state legislators to show up for work?

By faddking on 2013 01 25, 4:17 pm CST

Comment removed by moderator.

By okiedokie on 2013 01 25, 4:23 pm CST

There are plenty of reasons not to like a law that requires elected officials to be physically present at an official location -- even if the law were well-crafted to cover situations where the person was disabled but able to work from home, or needed to care for a sick child. In reality, laws like this are used as a stick to punish someone who has done something else we don't like. When I was a government lawyer early in my career and half my colleagues were protected by civil service rules, often the most effective way to get rid of a civil service lawyer whose work was substandard was to get a detective to make note of when the lawyer arrived in the morning, took lunch, and left in the evening. A few 90-minute lunches and the termination hearing was easy. The trouble is that, in the case of both civil servants and elected officials, it might not be the person's work that somebody objects to but his or her political views.

By Pete on 2013 01 25, 4:52 pm CST

No Show Jobs, has a ring of racketeering, they are still being paid, tax payer USD, betraying the public trust, while they play golf, eat, sleep, drink alcohol, have sex and laugh about it.

By Angelo Dickens JD on 2013 01 25, 7:19 pm CST

Could be a reaction to a series of exposes done by Houston gadfly who gave the local ABC outlet a number of videos of judges leaving courthouse early, though it was several years ago. Current Texas law never requires a judge to hold court or appear. I used to get really irritated when the courthouse emptied out on Friday afternoons and I needed a judge to set a bail. So I looked it up, and changed my mind about being irritated.
Most judges of my acquaintance (small county near Houston) are quite willing to do their jobs.

By George Renneberg on 2013 01 26, 1:06 am CST

"And for its encore, the Texas Legislature has just sent a bill to Governor Perry's desk that would require judicial officers to write all orders, opinions, and/or memoranda in iambic pentameter."

Seriously, what will they think of next?

Free ABA dues on me for the gutsy Texan who approaches Rep. White and says, "Excuse me, Representative, but I thought Texas was a "right-to-work" state, not a "have-to-work" state!"

Getting serious for a second, I would support such a bill so long as its requirements are clear and unmistakeable, it is narrowly tailored to just those incumbent officeholders who have not been re-elected, and reasonably accommodates its objects as they segue into post-official life. I too particularly loathe office holders who bilk the public in their lame-duck months to pursue their social and recreational agendas with a vengeance.

By L-Train on 2013 01 26, 11:55 pm CST

I would guess Texas just quit the ABA en masse over the ABA endorsement of federal gun ban proposals, so the free ABA dues is probably not much of an incentive. Most Texans would probably rather be a Communist child molester than a member of the ABA now.

By B. McLeod on 2013 01 27, 4:55 am CST

It's hard to expect those who have been voted out of office to seriously show up for their job.

By SME on 2013 02 06, 4:43 pm CST

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