Chief Justice Robert W. Calvert was an influential lawyer, politician, jurist, and scholar.
Born in 1905 in Tennessee, Calvert had a Dickensian childhood. After his father died in 1912, his destitute mother moved to Texas and, in 1913, placed her children in the State Orphans Home in Corsicana. Calvert remained in the Orphans Home for ten years, fighting hunger and barely surviving an influenza epidemic in 1918.
After graduating from the University of Texas Law School in 1931, Calvert began his law practice in Hillsboro, Texas. Calvert also was a successful politician. He served three terms in the Texas House of Representative, and became Speaker of the House in 1937. In the 1940s, he served as Hillsboro City Attorney, Hill County Attorney, and as president of the Hillsboro Independent School District.
Calvert practiced both as a trial lawyer and as an appellate lawyer. In 1950 he successfully ran for a position as an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court. He served on the court for 22 years, including the last eleven as chief justice. He wrote 378 opinions.
Calvert was a strong believer in the rule of law, advocating that the law should remain stable and predictable. For many appellate attorneys today, he is best remembered as one of the architects of the standards of review in Texas. His 1960 article, "No Evidence" and "Insufficient Evidence" Points of Error, published in the Texas Law Review, remains one of the seminal articles regarding Texas standards of review.