Texas courts were strikingly well-prepared for COVID-19

October 27, 2020

Although governments at all levels have struggled to respond to COVID-19, Texas courts have remained largely open, processing cases electronically and conducting thousands of hearings since the March shutdown. And while many governmental initiatives — school closings, dining and entertainment restrictions, even mandatory face coverings — have generated controversy, changes to judicial operations have been widely accepted, and court functions have been both accessible and safe.

The pandemic once threatened to close our courtrooms. That prospect brought home the importance of the judicial system to the everyday lives of millions of Texans. Texas families have faced eviction, uncertainty about child‑custody and visitation arrangements, disputes about medical decisions, and discord over educational and safety choices. Those accused of crimes and society as a whole are entitled to prompt resolution of guilt or innocence. And the pandemic itself is at the root of many disputes about whether contracts are capable of performance, and who should bear the loss if they are not. For these pandemic-related disputes and ordinary judicial business, the courts must remain open. 

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