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Word Count: 537
Qualifications for judges of district-level courts include US citizenship residence in the district for two years immediately before election or appointment and a license to practice law in Texas As a guarantee of practical legal experience a district-level judge must have been a practicing lawyer a judge of a court of record or both for at least four years prior to election As in the case of Texas judges in other state courts a vacant judgeship resulting from death resignation retirement removal or the creation of a new court is filled by gubernatorial appointment with the advice and consent of the Senate More tan half of the judges in district-level courts initially reach the bench as a result of appointment Historically having the political advantage of running as incumbents they retained their positions b winning subsequent elections In recent elections however incumbent Democratic judges have been defeated in increasing numbers as party affiliation has become more important than incumbency The Long Star States appellate courts consist of 14 courts of appeals the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court of Texas Each of these courts has three or more judges or justices and all members are popularly elected for terms of six years Terms are staggered so that one-third of the members are elected or re-elected every two years because it helps to ensure hat at any given time barring death resignation or removal form office each appellate court will have two or more judges with prior experience on that court Justices of courts of appeals judges of the Court of Criminal Appeals and justices of the Supreme Court of Texas must be at least 35 years age and have had ten years of experience as a practicing lawyer or ten years of combined experience as a practicing lawyer and judge of a court of record Decisions are reached by majority vote of the judges assigned to the case after their examination of
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