Much like what is happening in Washington this week, voters won’t have a say in who fills a vacancy on the Texas Supreme Court.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that Rebeca Huddle is his pick to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Paul Green in August. The announcement was made at Stephen F. Austin High School in El Paso, Huddle’s alma mater.
“She has a proven respect for the rule of law and for the rule of the Constitution,” Abbott said. “Texans depend on a fair and impartial justice system and judges who follow the law as written. I know that Rebeca will faithfully defend the Constitution and will go to work every single day for the people of Texas.”
Huddle was appointed to the Texas 1st Court of Appeals by Gov. Rick Perry. She left the appellate court in 2017 to return to Baker Botts, where she had been a partner before being picked by Perry in 2011. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
“I’m so deeply honored to do the work that is awaiting me at the Texas Supreme Court,” said Huddle. “I pledge I will faithfully apply the law as it is written. I understand the magnitude of the trust and responsibility that the governor is placing in me and every justice of the Supreme Court, and I will work hard every day to earn that trust.”
Texas Supreme Court judges are elected, but Green waited to announce his retirement until one week after the August candidate filing deadline for the Nov. election, handing Abbott the privilege of handpicking the successor by appointment.
“After attempting to use the courts to stop Texans from voting, Governor Abbott is again thumbing his nose at everyday Texans by appointing a replacement instead of letting the voters decide,” said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa. “Green purposely timed his resignation to disenfranchise Texans and not let them choose their next Texas Supreme Court justice. That is dead wrong and against the fundamental principles of our democracy and the sanctity of the Texas Supreme Court.”
Four Texas Supreme Court justices, all Republicans, are up for re-election next month.
Chief Justice Nathan Hecht is being challenged by Democrat Judge Amy Clark Meachum, who currently serves as state district judge in Travis County.
Justice Jane Bland’s democratic challenger is Kathy Cheng, a private practice attorney in Houston.
Staci Williams, a Democrat and private practice attorney in Dallas, is taking on Justice Jeff Boyd.
Brett Busby’s Democatic opposition is Justice Gisela Triana, who currently sits on the Texas Third Court of Appeals.
You can read more Reform Austin coverage about the Texas Supreme Court incumbents, their decisions, their fundraising and ethics here, here and here.