In order to fill the gap between the formal training and the duties of office, and ensure that judges are kept up to date with legal developments, the Legislature has provided for the mandatory continuing professional education of judges. As discussed in section 4.2, judges are generally expected to be knowledgeable in the law, but only a few need be licensed attorneys. They are also expected to dispense justice in a fair and impartial manner.
To ensure the fair and impartial dispensation of justice the Texas Supreme Court has promulgated the Code of Judicial Conduct. This code establishes professional standards which the state Constitution makes mandatory for judges, masters, and magistrates.
The Constitution also establishes a special commission - the Commission on Judicial Conduct - to review complaints concerning the conduct of judges. The Commission considers whether the conduct in question is inconsistent with the proper performance of judicial duties or whether it discredits the judiciary or the administration of justice.
The Commission may reprimand or publicly censure a judge, or recommend to a review tribunal that the judge be retired or removed from office. The review tribunal, in turn, has ninety days to accept or reject the Commission's recommendation. The Commission may also suspend judges who are indicted for felony offenses or charged with official misconduct. It may not review the legal results of a trial; such review is a responsibility of the appellate courts.