Nabors Corporate Services general counsel and former judge of Harris County's 129th civil District Court Grant Dorfman takes over Harris County's 334th civil District Court. Former presiding judge of the 334th Ken Wise-- what a great surname for a justice-- rises to Houston's 14th Court of Appeals. Wise takes the place of Jeff Brown, elevated to Texas's Supreme Court. Brown takes the seat of Nathan Hecht, who will now be the Chief Justice, while Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson leaves his seat to go earn some money with the law firm now to be called Alexander Dubose Jefferson and Townsend, which, as far as the judicial seats go, completes the cycle. People who can do the work of a Texas Supreme Court justice-- or the work of a justice on any Texas appellate court-- can make much more money in private practice than they can in working on a court. I don't know if it is practical to raise judicial salaries to a level such that they would be competitive with private sector pay. It is sad, though, to see the passage of good justices off the benches because of money. Former Chief Justice Phillips, former Justice Hankinson, former Fort Worth Justice David Keltner, and others too numerous to mention are sorely missed.
There are a lot of reasons not to treat appellate justices poorly. One of those reasons is the financial sacrifice that practically all of them make to serve.