Ruff

Responding to a slew of recent press accounts regarding purported opinion delay at SCOTX, the Court’s Staff Attorney for Public Information–Osler McCarthy–published an editorial yesterday in the San Antonio Express-News that exposed the shoddy reporting and questionable methodology used by the press and self-styled nonpartisan “watchdog” groups who raised the allegations.

SMSB has been unimpressed with the hue and cry surrounding these accounts, and we’re glad to see Osler set the record straight.

The errata noted by Osler included: (1) a Dallas television station’s use of a watchdog’s backlog calculations, which curiously inflated the average time for issuing opinions by 152 days (some 40%) more than the Office of Court Administration officially reported to the Legislature; (2) two newspapers’ reports that almost doubled the actual number of causes carried over from the previous term; and (3) a watchdog’s fabricated use of a fiscal year ending in June, when the Court’s actual term naturally adheres to the State’s fiscal year, which concludes at the end of August.

Altogether, a fairly damning indictment of both the watchdog groups and the press that have long pretended to be nonpartisan.

Osler also notes that, despite having ten new Justices join the nine-member Court since April 2001, last year the Court produced the greatest number of opinions since 2000, as well as sixty-two signed majority opinions, the second highest number since 1999. Moreover, this productivity can only be improved by the addition of the new central staff attorney currently being sought by the Court.

Thx to Osler McCarthy for correcting the public record, the Texas Appellate Blog, and SCOTX Blog

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