Houston Matters

How the Fifth Circuit Became the Nation’s Most Right-Leaning Appellate Court

Until a new justice is named and confirmed to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, any rulings resulting in a 4-4 tie among the current justices will lead to the lower court ruling being upheld, without a precedent set. When it comes to cases involving the state of Texas, that lower […]

5th Circuit Court of Appeals Courthouse New Orleans - MH

Until a new justice is named and confirmed to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, any rulings resulting in a 4-4 tie among the current justices will lead to the lower court ruling being upheld, without a precedent set. When it comes to cases involving the state of Texas, that lower court is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Based in New Orleans, the Fifth Circuit has 15 active judges who rule on cases stemming from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The court is known for being very conservative, but it wasn’t always.

We learn how the Fifth Circuit became the most consistently right-leaning appellate court in the nation, and discuss some of the Texas-based cases it has ruled on in recent years, with Charles “Rocky” Rhodes, professor of law at South Texas College of Law.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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