There will be four seats on the Texas Supreme Court up for election this year. In three of those seats, the Republican nomination will be contested, though all feature a GOP incumbent. Three Democrats will be running as well, though each faces no intra-party opposition in their respective contests. We endorse the incumbents in all three races. Though this board, admittedly, has some major issues with the way the Texas Supreme Court conducts business, we believe each Republican incumbent is a far better choice than the primary opponent.
Nathan Hecht is a bit of a wild card, and we were definitely not all that thrilled about his ascent into the Chief Justice’s chair. An unabashed conservative, Hecht differs substantially from his predecessor –Wallace B. Jefferson– in style and pragmatism. From being excessively cozy with special interest and Conservative zealots to ongoing ethical quarrels, we have some serious doubts about Hecht’s tenure on the court. But no one could deny he is a remarkable jurist, as he continues to be the leading Justice on this powerful court.
Additionally, we find the choice between Hecht and Robert Talton to be unbelievably easy. Talton, a former State Representative, has graced Texas Monthly’s list of the worst before, and for good reason. He is a homophobic bigot, to say the least. Monthly called his obsessions extreme and said his agenda “makes the Patriot Act look like the Bill of Rights.” Indeed, he has not provided any specifics for this most recent campaign of his, and we are not impressed. Vote for Hecht.
Jeff Brown is the most recent Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, replacing the seat Hecht vacated to assume his current position. Brown has 12 years of judicial experience (six as an Appellette Justice, six as a District Judge), where he has always served with both humbleness and integrity. Again, as an unashamed conservative jurist, we have found many disagreements with him, but believe he is, at the very root, qualified and experienced for the job.
His opponent, Joe Pool, is neither. A political opportunist, he was running for the Railroad Commission for a while before abruptly changed his filing to this post. Pool additionally has no political experience, and has simply been campaigning on the fact that his father was an at-large Congressman many years ago. Furthermore, Pool has not been campaigning on facts and substance. Rather, he has been fighting nothing short of an insurgent campaign against Justice Brown, simply trying to kick him off the ballot using tacky and dirty strategies. Texans deserve better, vote for Brown.
Phil Johnson has served the Supreme Court as an overall good justice for nearly a decade now. Once again, there are many aspects of his conservative judicial philosophy that we find troubling. However, these concerns are insignificant compared to those we have with his opponent, Sharon McCally. A justice on the Court of Appeals, McCally has employed many of the tired but unsubstantiated attacks on tried and true conservative jurists such as Johnson. We see no reason to ditch him. Vote for Johnson.
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena of Austin, Sophia Arena of Houston, George Bailey of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans. Editorials represent the majority opinion of the board.