It’s time to talk about them, think about them, and vote them out.
This week I found this old news clip from 1997 about the Texas Supreme Court. The clip was about how Supreme Court Justices at the time had taken money from lawyers and plaintiffs of cases that were tried in front of them. The worst offender? Justice Greg Abbott, for $27,000.
I wonder if way back then, he knew his thousand dollar payoffs would grow in to million dollar payoffs by the time he climbed the ranks to governor.
But Abbott wasn’t the first Supreme Court Justice that ever demonstrated questionable behavior.
Just check out some old news clippings from one of his predecessors, Court Justice, John Cornyn.
In 1991, Cornyn was pulling in a million a year from having two justice positions, even though there were ethical questions on him doing so.
In 1997, Abbott was taking donations from plaintiffs and lawyers of cases before him. While legal, it was still unethical.
Cornyn eventually moved on to become the Attorney General of Texas and then the Senior Senator. Abbott, followed in his footsteps becoming Attorney General after Cornyn, and now governor. These two men demonstrated to the people of Texas over 20 years ago, that they partook in unethical behavior and were susceptible to corruption.
Yet, both men kept getting elected and then re-elected, and now Texas’ government is so awash in corruption, they don’t even try and hide it anymore.
So, what’s the deal with the Texas Supreme Court?
The thing that a lot of people, (especially non-voters), fail to realize is that voting in an election, isn’t just about picking the president or the governor. All the way down ballot, candidates at state and local levels may have a bigger impact on your daily life than president does. Most specifically, judicial candidates are important to vote for.
There are 9 Supreme Court Justices, 4 of which are up for reelection this year. All 4 that are running, also happen to be Republicans. As part of the expected blue wave in 2020; voting these justices out is also important.
Let’s look at some more recent happenings at the Texas Supreme Court.
- You may have heard lately, we could vote by mail during the pandemic, then we couldn’t, then we could again, then once again we could not. Where is that case at? Right now, it’s at the Republican majority Texas Supreme court, where they said it was to be put on hold for now.
- Recently, the Texas Supreme Court sided with Abbott, when he wrote an executive order that required some people to pay money to get out of jail during the coronavirus pandemic, but not others, even though it was a violation of the US Constitution. Texas jails are still hot-spots for coronavirus.
- Earlier this year, a new lawsuit from a millionaire GOP donor asserted that the Texas Supreme Court almost always sides on whoever gave the most campaign cash.
- One of the court justices called Judge Amy Clark Meachum selfish for wanting to break the glass ceiling.
Yes, this all happened this year, and that only scratches the surface.
The last 25 years.
In the last 25 years in Texas, the Supreme Court has been completely Republicans. Which may be the reason why all levels of our state government in Texas is corrupt. They are all awash with money and pander to special interests and the rich. Which leaves us, the people at the bottom of the totem poll. That’s why they have to go.
So, who’s up for election?
Nathan Hecht, Chief Justice
In 2018, when Democrats had a huge victory in Texas, when Republicans lost 20 judges, Nathan Hecht called on Texas Republican lawmakers to reform voting.
As someone who has been on the Texas Supreme Court since 1989. His 1988 campaign was ran by Karl Rove, he was there when Abbott was beginning his path as a politician easily bought for the highest bidder and he was there when Cornyn was unethically sitting on two seats.
In 2006, Justice Hecht was admonished by the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct for an improper use of his office and position to help land his girlfriend land a job. Eventually he was exonerated.
In 2008, Nathan Hecht was fined $29,000 by the Texas Ethics Commission for improper campaign contributions. He fought in in court for years, eventually settling on $1,000.
Back in 2017, Nathan Hecht was one of the justices that voted to reverse a court decisions that allowed insurance benefits for spouses of gay and lesbian public employees. When Dallas banned the use of plastic bags in 2018, Justice Hecht was one of the justices that helped strike that ban down.
So, far in 2020, Hecht has pulled in almost $600,000 in donations from individuals, PACs, and Koch Industries.
Jane Bland, Place 6
While Justice Bland hasn’t been on the Supreme Court long enough to be embroiled in ethics scandals like her predecessors, Hecht, Abbott, and Cornyn, she has made a few questionable decisions.
Running against Jane Bland in 2020, is Kathy Cheng, who is not only qualified, but will also help to usher in change .
Jeffrey Boyd, Place 7
Jeffrey Boyd has been on the GOP inner circle for a long time. He was the Deputy Attorney General under John Cornyn and Greg Abbott, as well as General Council and Chief of Staff for Rick Perry.
When Rick Perry appointed Jeffrey Boyd to the Supreme Court in 2012, there was an immediate outcry of cronyism. Perry had placed many loyalists, lobbyists, and former employees in various appointed positions. Nearly a quarter of his appointees were also campaign donors. Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka said that Boyd’s resume was one of the skimpiest he had ever seen for a high judicial appointment.
He is just like the rest of the Texas Supreme Court, during the mail-in vote battle currently being fought. Justice Boyd is outright partisan and put special interests over the safety of everyday Texans. His far right partisanship also reigned through regarding the Shelly Luther case.
Currently running against Boyd is Staci Williams, who is smart, fair minded, and highly qualified.
Brett Busby, Place 8
Justice Brett Busby used to be on the 14th court of appeals. Then in 2018, when Democrats swept Texas, he was voted out. In turn, Greg Abbott almost immediately nominated him for a vacancy on the Texas Supreme Court. During that time, one of his colleagues wrote a letter of recommendation for him, saying he was “deeply committed to the Conservative movement.”
Like Bland, Busby is also a newcomer to the Supreme Court and the dust hasn’t settled in long enough for him to be embroiled in scandals yet.
Running against Bret Busby is Justice Gisela Triana. She has over 24 years of experience on the Judicial Bench, and is known for being fair, deliberate, and courteous.
Have you noticed a pattern here?
Greg Abbott and John Cornyn served on the Supreme Court together in the 90s. Cornyn was sitting on two seats at the same time, which many called unethical. Abbott was taking donations from lawyers and plaintiffs, in the 90s and ruling in favor of the donor. When Abbott became attorney general, he made investigations disappear for Cornyn.
Nathan Hecht was on the bench when both Cornyn and Abbott were. Hecht kept company with Karl Rove and has a record of repeated unethical behavior. Bland also was in that inner-circle with Dubya Bush and Rick Perry, and then appointed by Abbott. Boyd worked directly for Perry who appointed him to the Supreme Court, after voted out of his previous position.
This is the best example that anyone can give of the good ol’ boy network in Texas which has reigned supreme for decades now. There is a reason why the courts keep ruling in favor of Abbott, Paxton, and the rest of the GOP.
It’s time to vote them all out!
Any judge, on the Supreme Court or otherwise, should be fair, ethical, and always decide on cases based on the law. That isn’t happening in today’s Texas Supreme Court, where cronyism and corruption have dominated the last few decades.
The Texas Supreme Court isn’t just a civil court, but also an appeals court. Their decisions can affect millions of Texans regarding civil rights and personal safety. Like the Shelly Luther case, where she violated the law by not complying to a restraining order, the current Supreme Court will rule in favor of the good ol’ boy network, even when it’s glaringly wrong.
When you vote this year, vote for every ticket down-ballot and make sure we vote these partisan justices out.
Make sure you’re registered to vote!
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