Rebecca Huddle was sworn in as the newest justice of the Texas Supreme Court on Friday.
In an invitation-only ceremony streamed on the Texas Supreme Court’s YouTube channel, Gov. Greg Abbott, who appointed Huddle, administered the oath of office.
Huddle is filling a vacancy left by the retirement of former Justice Paul Green in August. Ordinarily, justices on the Texas Supreme Court are elected by voters. However, because of the specific timing of Green’s retirement, mere days after an election filing deadline, Abbott was able to handpick his choice for the seat.
The move was met with harsh criticism by Texas Democrats.
“The people should choose their justices, not Greg Abbott,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party.
Green claimed, in an interview with the Texas Tribune, that the timing of his departure was entirely coincidental, yet he refused to consider changing his retirement date in order to allow Texas voters to choose his replacement.
Huddle previously served as a Republican justice on the Houston-based 1st Court of Appeals and was a partner at Baker Botts, a large law firm. Baker Botts is a large contributor to Republican Texas Supreme Court Justices’ campaigns and has frequent business before the court.
Huddle is the fourth justice nominated by Abbott to the currently all-Republican court. Two of those justices, Jane Bland and J. Brett Busby, along with Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, and Justice Jeff Boyd, all Republicans, are on the ballot this coming Election Day.