The Texas Supreme Court is the highest appellate court for civil litigation in Texas. Located in Austin, the panel consists of a chief justice and eight justices who are elected statewide to staggered six-year terms. The governor also has the authority to appoint justices temporarily to fill vacancies. Appointed justices, who must be confirmed by the Texas Senate, may serve out the unexpired term.
Gov. Rick Perry appointed Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson to the court in 2001. Formerly an appellate lawyer with the Crofts, Callaway & Jefferson law firm in in San Antonio, Jefferson became the state's 26th chief justice in in 2004. He was elected chief justice in 2006 and re-elected in 2008. His term expires at the end of 2014.
Jefferson presides over a panel with authority in many statewide legal matters in addition to litigation, according to its website: "By statute the Court has administrative control over the State Bar of Texas. Tex. Gov't Code § 81.011. The Court is also the sole authority for licensing attorneys in Texas and appoints the members of the Board of Law Examiners which administers the Texas bar examination. Tex. Gov't Code §§ 82.00, 82.004. The Court promulgates the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Texas Rules of Evidence and other rules and standards."