Betts v. Johnson

In Betts v. Johnson, 96 Tex. 360, 73 S.W. 4, 5 (Tex. 1903), Betts moved for mandamus to compel Johnson and others, as members of the Board of Eclectic Medical Examiners for the State of Texas, to issue Betts a license to practice medicine. The Court held it did not have jurisdiction to grant a writ of mandamus in such a case. Betts, 73 S.W. at 4. The Court determined that "officer of state government" does not encompass all state officers for purposes of this Court's original mandamus jurisdiction. Rather, the Court concluded, the Legislature intended that jurisdiction extend only to state officers who are the "heads of state departments." Betts, 73 S.W. at 4. After defining the limited scope of the term "state officer," the Court noted that Betts actually sought mandamus against a board of officers and not against a single officer. It explained that if the statute's purpose was to empower the Court to issue the writ against a board of officers as well as against a single officer, the statute's language would have been "'any officer or board of officers of the state government.'" Betts, 73 S.W. at 5 Consequently, the Court denied the writ.