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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Texas Supreme Court

Texas's highest court, which only hears civil cases, consists of a Chief Justice and eight justices, each elected statewide for a six-year term. Since juvenile cases are civil cases, the Texas Supreme Court hears them, too. The Court chooses the cases it wants to hear, so they generally choose the ones they want to reverse. Presently all of the Justices are Republicans. The most common way to get on this bench as a practical matter is to get appointed by the governor with the approval of the State Senate to fill an unfinished term of an exiting justice.
This Court is extremely likely to reverse plaintiffs' judgments, and are more sensitive to the faults of  Democrat Court-of-Appeal justices than of their fellow Republicans, which is bad news for the blue Supreme Judicial Districts numbered Eight-- El Paso--and Thirteen--Corpus Christi/Edinburg.
Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson is the first African-American Chief Justice of Texas and the first African-American Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Justice Nathan L. Hecht is a clever writer-- the kind of guy who would quote Shakespeare in an opinion. Formerly linked romantically with high-powered white-shoe Dallas lawyer, former White House Counsel and United States Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, Hecht beat ethics charges against him that arose when he gave interviews and made political phone calls on behalf of Miers. Dale Wainwright was a civil district judge in Houston. I remember seeing him at our local Fuddrucker's as he was bringing some kind of little league team he was a coach of out to supper. David Medina is also from Houston. I remember when he was a trial judge-- I lost a case in his court because of some pointless and impossible-to-satisfy rule about how he wanted papers presented to him, though I've got to give him credit, when I told him the story years later, he had the conscience to wince when he heard it. He was indicted for arson and altering documents, but the charges were dismissed. Justice Paul W. Green was an appeals court judge in San Antonio for ten years before he rose to the higher bench. Phil Johnson was the Chief Justice of the Amarillo Court of Appeals before he rose. Don R. Willett was as plugged in as a Christmas light to the Bush-Cheney administration, though he's got stellar legal credentials, too. Eva Guzman rose from a Houston family court bench to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston to Texas's highest. Debra Lehrmann is the Court's newest justice, a former Fort Worth family law judge.

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