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Trump Nominates Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to 5th Circuit Appellate Court

Trump Nominates Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to 5th Circuit Appellate Court

A most excellent choice

One of Texas’ best is making the federal leap. Thursday, Trump nominated Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, according to an administrative official.

Willett, a good-humored Constitutional conservative, was rumored to have made Trump’s Supreme Court Justice short list.

The San Antonio Express-News reports:

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett was cited by Trump as a potential U.S. Supreme court pick during his presidential campaign. Dallas appellate lawyer James Ho is a former Texas solicitor general who has argued cases before state and federal courts.

Willett — a prolific Twitter user whose wit with more than 96,000 followers and the title of Texas “Tweeter Laureate” –had gently mocked Trump in some tweets during the campaign for the White House.

Among them was a haiku suggesting the thought of Trump’s potential U.S. Supreme Court picks would make one weep. But when President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the nation’s highest court, Willett tweeted that he was a “superb jurist.”

Willett often praises his mother, who supported the family by waiting tables at a truck stop after his father died when Willett was 6 years old. The widow waited tables at a truck struck. Willett graduated from Baylor University, then received his law degree and a master’s degree in political science from Duke.

He worked for George W. Bush in the governor’s office and in the White House, then worked for then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, now the state’s governor. He initially was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court by then-Gov. Rick Perry, and since has been re-elected.

Justice Willett’s Twitter feed is one of the best on the platform, full of Constitutional, Texas, and otherwise geeky humor. It’s quite difficult to pair down some of his best, but here we are:

Also reportedly nominated, former Texas Solicitor General, James Ho. Express-News ctd:

Ho, a naturalized U.S. citizen, moved to this country with his family from Taiwan when he was a young child. He received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and his law degree from the University of Chicago School of Law.

A former state solicitor general, Ho also clerked for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; helped lead the civil rights division of the Justice Department under George W. Bush; and has a reputation as a big gun in his private appellate practice.

Congrats, Justice Willett! Wishing you a speedy, hassle-free nomination process.

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Let the “dragging thru the mud” commence…
Brought on by the MudStreamMedia…
Chuck Todd ‘constitutional’ scholar leading the way…

You forgot the “open carry at a judges’ convention”!!

I have a feeling Trump could learn from Willet’s tweets….

    mariner in reply to alaskabob. | September 29, 2017 at 1:59 am

    I’m sure Trump knows all he wants to know about Willett’s tweets.

    I remember that Willett thought it great sport to dump on Trump through the campaign.

    Ironically, Trump is a better sport than Willett.

      hrh40 in reply to mariner. | September 29, 2017 at 6:48 am

      He worked for Bush, was nominated by Perry (a Rove creation), so no surprise there.

      Just hope he’s not another Rove creation.

“Wishing you a speedy, hassle-free nomination process”? In Jewish Law, that is known as a tefillas shav, a useless prayer.

    Since Judge Willett will be looking at the US Constitution, I think that any reference to Jewish, Catholic, Sharia, international and other laws is immaterial to this discussion.

    Wishing Judge Willett a smooth review process and a successful term on the 5th Circuit.

      herm2416 in reply to Liz. | September 29, 2017 at 9:30 am

      Tell that to to Di Fi and Dustbin….they had a few things to say about religious dogma when they were iinterviewing a catholic woman for judge a couple of weeks ago.

OleDirtyBarrister | September 28, 2017 at 5:00 pm

He has been admitted to the Texas Bar since November 1992, but it is not easy to discern how much time he actually spent in private practice as an attorney. That is a factor not weighted enough in assessment of candidates for the bench. I want real attorneys that have lived with a lot of clients and their issues and bad judicial work from the system, not career troughfeeders that think all govt employees are swell people and are overly deferential to the govt or academic types with too little practical experience with the legal system and its flaws.

2nd Ammendment Mother | September 28, 2017 at 5:02 pm

hmmm, Willet gets vetted and approved for Appellate…. anyone who saw Ginsberg on Charlie Rose the other night realizes she’s not really with us anymore.

    Rick the Curmudgeon in reply to 2nd Ammendment Mother. | September 28, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Chemo brain??

    I’ve been saying for a while now that I don’t foresee Justice Ginsberg (aka Notorious RBG) making it through the Trump administration.

    Her health is already too frail. The press has made a big point about doing pieces on how she’s working with a personal trainer to stay fit, and how her mind is still sharp, but it’s all window dressing.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, she won’t retire unless she physically can’t get to the Court, but mentally she’s at least partially checked out. Physically, I expect that she’s not going to be able to continue on much longer, and at her age I would not be surprised one day to hear that she died at her desk.

From the WH site:
“If confirmed, Don R. Willett of Texas will serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Justice Don Willett currently serves as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court. He was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court by Governor Perry in 2005, and was then elected to that position by the people of Texas in 2006 and 2012. Before assuming judicial office, Justice Willett held several other positions of public service. From 2003 to 2005, he was a Deputy Attorney General and chief legal counsel to the Attorney General of Texas, and before that, was Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice. Previously, Justice Willett served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Law & Policy in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. From 1996 to 2000, Justice Willett was Director of Research & Special Projects for Governor Bush. Before entering public service, he practiced labor and employment law in the Austin office of Haynes and Boone, LLP. Justice Willett clerked for Judge Jerre S. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Justice Willett is a member of the American Law Institute and recently served as editor-in-chief of Judicature—The Scholarly Journal for Judges. He earned a B.B.A. from Baylor University, and then three degrees from Duke University: J.D. with honors, M.A. in political science, and LL.M. in Judicial Studies.”

The most important question here is how Ragspierre feels about this, being a TX lawyer and all.

I’m being a little facetious, but why not see what he has to say?

    “What difference at this point does it make?”

      healthguyfsu in reply to Liz. | September 28, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      Because it’s a place for discourse and we can be civil at times and enjoy times when everyone has common interest. Is that so bad on an online comment board?

    Ragspierre in reply to healthguyfsu. | September 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Rags likes…!!!

    He’s a good guy, fine attorney, and has a wonderful sense of humor.

    He seems to really know the law. No bad thing in an appellate judge. He’d be an asset to the 5th Circuit.

Subotai Bahadur | September 28, 2017 at 6:08 pm

You are making the assumption that Mitch McConnell will allow a confirmation vote during this session of Congress. Assuming facts not in evidence.

    I’ve been calling my senators & Rep. to complain about a variety of items. The lack of approval of judges, US attorneys and administrative posts is usually one of the first items on the list. Budget, tax reform and health care insurance reform are also on that list.

    I actually got a call back from my Representative to get clarification about the health care insurance message I left over the weekend.

    That rino scum mcconnell’s days are numbered. He’s going to figure out that he has to ‘fly right.’

    Let’s let him think so, then when the time is right, push him off a cliff as strange, boehner, cantor, Jeb! and clinton, so he’s never heard from again in any way important.

Justice Willet is the Tweet Laurette of Texas.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this nomination!!! Willett is an outstanding choice! Dr. Peppers all around.

    Colonel Travis in reply to AmandaFitz. | September 28, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Dr Pepper has no period, this knowledge separates you from the riffraff. You don’t want to be riffraff.

    Make sure it’s cane sugar Dr Pepper, not the corn syrup crap.

    End of Dr Pepper rant, carry on!

The Wee Willetts are growing up soooo fast.

Just as a historical note, the 5th Circuit is one of America’s most distinguished and sound appellate circuit courts.

From it has issued some of the most important cases of the 20th Century, and many of them involved Judge Robert Brown. His archives were housed in a sub-level of the University Of Houston Law Center library (all of which was brilliantly under ground. In Houston. Under. Ground.) Anyhow, I’ve often wondered what happened to those priceless materials.

As an aside, I’m still waiting for some legal instruments that I ordered before Harvey from the Harris Co. Dist. Clerk.

He sounds somewhat ok. But I am wary of anyone for any position that has been part of the Bush political machine and GOPe. I just don’t trust these non populist non nationalist GOPe Bushies.

Hard to believe President Trump hasn’t nominated his sister or a progressive democrat after all the assurances the never Trumpers gave us on this issue.

    Ragspierre in reply to garybritt. | September 28, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Well, provided #realism, Mr. Establishment DID say his sister (Progressive, New York) would make a swell Supreme.

    Or am I mistaken?

    Nobody gave you “assurances”, liar. We merely quoted your Great Goad Cheeto.

    AmandaFitz in reply to garybritt. | September 28, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    I could be mistaken, but I don’t think I am. Willett is a stand-up guy and a serious Constitutionalist.

      Ragspierre in reply to AmandaFitz. | September 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      Gary doesn’t think the Constitution matters.

      Populism is not really consistent with the Constitution. Nor is “nationalism”.

      Gary likes BIG GOVERNMENT. And he’s always very, very willing to smear people, like the Bush family, Cruz’s wife, etc. It’s who deep vacuum T-rump suckers are.

      I think the Bushes were stand up decent guys. But they were also terrible Presidents that made horrible selections for Supreme court 50% of the time. And I am completely sick of all the GOPe former Bush administration never Trumpers.

      As for Rags he is delusional, childish, immature liar with a terrible reputation.

        Ragspierre in reply to garybritt. | September 28, 2017 at 10:03 pm

        Note that Gari (The Liar) Britt cannot refute anything I’ve said.

        So he calls me names and impugns my reputation as he runs away.

        It was always thus…

        GaryBritt is absolutely correct about the Bushes as people and presidents. Good people, lousy presidents.

        David Souter, anyone?
        John Roberts, anyone?

        Judging by the reports on Willet’s Trump tweets and his heavy Bush/Perry/Rove background, it is not unreasonable at all to be wary.

I liked voting for this guy, hope he’s confirmed.

Who, I wonder is “former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas”?

Does Express-News know something it hasn’t told us?