Anyway, Justice David Gaultney has retired. Governor Rick Perry has appointed civil defense attorney Leanne Johnson to replace Gaultney. She's a Beaumont attorney from the extremely plugged-in firm of Orgain Bell and Tucker. She will be the first female justice on the court. A 1983 magna cum laude Bachelor of Science in political science from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, a high honors graduate from University of Arkansas School of Law in 1986 where she on Moot Court Board and Law Review. She was a law clerk for Eastern District of Louisiana Judge Nauman Scott. Her background is largely in or connected to the petroleum industry, disputes relating to rights of way or easements, pipeline regulatory and personal property disputes, eminent domain, reinsurance and excess insurance coverage disputes, commercial contracts and litigation, class actions, personal injury defense work , employment law employer defense and ERISA defense. She's Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law, and is licensed to practice law in both Texas and Arkansas. She is admitted to practice law before the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of Texas, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She has been certified as a mediator and has a strong record of bar service and service to the Beaumont community.
Governor Perry chose her over former state district judge Fred Edwards and my friends Steve Simonsen and Scott Golemon. Simonsen and Golemon were long shots, but this development must be a bitter disappointment for Judge Edwards.
I think the justice's photo is relevatory: resolute, extremely practical, energetic, and very bright (Look at those eyes!). I would be surprised to find that she loves the bookish trappings of the law as much as Justice Gaultney charmed us with, but like Justice Gaultney back in the day, she comes to the bench without a lengthy judicial record.
It appears that the court will be tougher; I have some hope that it will be as smart.