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 2018.