Governor Abbott Taps Jimmy Blacklock for Texas Supreme Court

Governor Abbott Taps Jimmy Blacklock for Texas Supreme Court

Pending the confirmation of Justice Don Willett for the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Governor Greg Abbott has selected Jimmy Blacklock as the next Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Blacklock currently serves as the Governor’s General Counsel. A graduate of Rice University and the University of Texas School of Law, he previously worked for then-Attorney General Abbott in the Solicitor General’s office and as an assistant attorney general. “We applaud Governor Abbott for making a superb choice for the Texas Supreme Court,” said Carol Sims, TCJL Executive Director. “Jimmy Blacklock has broad legal experience in state government and will bring a unique and scholarly perspective to the Court. He also understands the critical importance of judicial restraint, deference to legislative policy decisions, and a stable jurisprudence to the continuing prosperity of our state.” Justice Willett’s confirmation could come as early as next month. The timing of Governor Abbott’s announcement, just two weeks before the December 11 filing deadline for the 2018 primary ballot, appears to head off the possibility of a contested primary or the prospect of Justice Willett’s replacement on the ballot by vote of the State Republican Executive Committee. This process may still occur if Justice Willett’s confirmation does not occur until after December 11, but it seems highly unlikely that, if called to do so, the SREC would put anyone other than the Governor’s appointee on the ballot. As the Governor’s appointee, Blacklock will run for election to a full six-year term in...
Donald Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court

Donald Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court

 WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he’s elected to the White House. The list of conservative federal and state judges includes Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado and Raymond Gruender of Missouri. Also on the list are: Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, Joan Larsen of Michigan, Thomas Lee of Utah, William Pryor of Alabama, David Stras of Minnesota, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin and Don Willett of Texas. Trump had previously named Pryor and Sykes as examples of kind of justices he would choose. The news comes as Trump is working to bring together a fractured Republican Party and earn the trust of still-skeptical establishment Republicans who question his electability in the general election, as well as conservatives in his party still wary of his commitment to their cause. In a statement, Trump said the list “is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value” and said that, as president, he would use it “as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.” His campaign stressed the list was compiled “first and foremost, based on constitutional principles, with input from highly respected conservatives and Republican Party leadership.” Larsen, who serves on the Michigan Supreme Court and is a former law clerk to Scalia, delivered one of the tributes to the late justice at his memorial service in March. She served in the Justice Department office that produced the legal justifications for the...
Texas Tribune Analysis: Could Surname Be Key in Republican Supreme Court Race?

Texas Tribune Analysis: Could Surname Be Key in Republican Supreme Court Race?

by Ross Ramsey, The Texas Tribune February 22, 2016 Editor’s note: If you’d like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey’s column, click here. What’s the deal with Texas Republican primary voters and candidates with Hispanic names? This question comes around every two years — usually as part of an election autopsy exploring why a particular candidate lost. The question describes risk more than it describes certainty: Sometimes, it does not apply at all; sometimes, the difference in names seems to be the only reason for an election to come out the way it did. It’s a risk for Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, who finds herself in a Republican primary against Joe Pool Jr. of Dallas, who has unsuccessfully tried to get on the court two times before this year. For one thing, that means he’s been on the state ballot one more time than the incumbent. Guzman was appointed by then-Gov. Rick Perry in 2009 and ran for a full six-year term the next year. She beat Rose Vela by a nearly two-to-one margin in the Republican primary and went on to win 60.4 percent in the general election against a Democrat and a Libertarian. This time, Guzman is on the Republican ballot with Pool and no other challengers. She, like just about every judge in Texas who hasn’t been in enough trouble to get attention, is virtually unknown. Pool is unknown, too, unless you’re old enough to remember his father, the late congressman from North Texas, or you know about the Dallas-are lake named after Joe Pool Sr. Guzman has virtually all of the institutional support....