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A Legal First? Texas, Arkansas Supreme Courts to Hold Dual Docket

Supreme Court of Texas

The Texas Supreme Court is traveling to Texarkana this week to hear a case. The court traditionally tries to hear a couple of arguments outside of Austin. But a little history is being made on this trip.

The Arkansas Supreme Court will be there too.

Osler McCarthy, staff attorney and public information officer at the Texas Supreme Court, says a dual docket doesn't look as if it's ever happened before.

The courts will convene at a pair of high schools on either side of the state line. The Arkansas court meets Wednesday. The Texas Justices on Thursday.

McCarthy says the cases chosen for this trip were picked the audience in mind.

"Especially in Texarkana we expect to have a high school audience," he says. "So we’re looking for cases that will educate about the law, but not be so arcane or so meshed in detail that we’re gonna lose an audience."

One of the cases Texas will hear Thursday centers on a lawsuit by a Houston man who sued Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest Medical Center over the hospital’s diagnosis of a gunshot wound victim. The other will be a suit over damages to a medical helicopter by a Texas Juvenile Justice Department van.

Bill Raftery is a senior analyst at the National Center for State Courts in Virginia. He says not all state high courts travel. And those that do typically visit more densely populated areas. That’s helped make this week’s joint venture even more unusual.

The proceedings are open to the public.

The Arkansas High Court will convene Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Arkansas High School, just across the state line. The Texas Supreme Court will convene at 9 a.m. Thursday at The Sullivan Performing Arts Center at Texarkana High School.

Scott Morgan has been an award-winning journalist since 2001. His work has appeared in several newspapers and magazines as well as online. He has also been an editor, freelancer, speaker, writing teacher, author, and podcaster.