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Governor Perry Appoints Boyd to Supreme Court

Posted in Announcements, News & Politics, Texas Supreme Court

Governor Perry has announced the appointment of Jeffrey S. Boyd (pictured) to fill the Texas Supreme Court seat vacated by former Justice Dale Wainwright. The official press release is available here.

Boyd currently serves as the Governor’s chief of staff and is the Governor’s former general counsel. He was a partner in the Austin office of Thompson and Knight LLP and served as Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation under Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and former Attorney General (now U.S. Senator) John Cornyn.

Boyd’s appointment is effective December 3, 2012, subject to Senate confirmation. His term will expire following the next general election, meaning that he will be running in 2014, as the incumbent, for a full six-year term.

With this appointment, my not-very-bold prediction that we would have a fully constituted Supreme Court by early January will come true. Justice-Elect John Devine, who had no major-party opponent on the ballot, will take office four weeks after Justice Boyd.

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  • Bradley B. Clark

    Jeff is an excellent and obvious choice for the seat. And the appointment is well deserved. 

  • leifolson

    Boyd (Justice Boyd, as of December 3) is Perry’s third SCOTX appointee to have no judicial experience (also now-Chief Justice Jefferson & Justice Don Willett); the second to have served as his general counsel (Justice David M. Medina); the third to have been appointed to the court from an executive-branch position (Medina & Willett); and the fourth to have been appointed from a non-judicial position (Jefferson was in private practice). If you include Justice Phil Johnson, who was appointed from the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo, and Justice Eva Guzman, who was a family-law practitioner before taking the bench, that makes six appointees who have come from backgrounds atypical for the court’s justices.The number of appointees from the executive branch is surprising.

    Granted, more new justices used to come to the Court as election victors (as did Justices Hecht, Green, and Lehrmann, and as John Devine will in January). But the only other justices I can think of who had executive-branch service in their backgrounds were Chief Justices Greenhill and Hill and Justice Price Daniel — and Hill and Daniel were elected to their (most prominent) executive positions, too. So, in a sense, Governor Perry is expanding the type of jurists on the Supreme Court. On the other hand, this appears to be the longest stretch, at least in the modern era, that the Court has been without a former legislator.

    I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing to have a Court that lacks in traditional “politicians,” but it’s certainly a different one.

    • dtoddsmith

      Those are some interesting observations, Leif.  Sounds like anyone angling for a judicial appointment ought to be applying for the soon-to-be-open position of General Counsel to the Governor.