April 04, 2006

Fighting Over Priscilla Owen's Old Tx Supreme Court Seat

For those of you who haven't heard, there is an election contest pending over Priscilla Owen's old spot on the Texas Supreme Court. Texas Governor Rick Perry appointed Don Willett as Owen’s temporary replacement last summer. Some of you may remember Justice Willett from his days as a Deputy AG under Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott; he also worked as a Deputy Assistant AG at DOJ several years ago. Perry’s appointment is only operative through the end of the year, however. Justice Willett is currently seeking election for a full, six-year term.

Unfortunately, Justice Willett was challenged in the Republican primary by one of Texas's very own perpetual candidates, a guy named Steven Wayne Smith. The primary was close, but Justice Willett won by more than 6,000 votes. Unfortunately, Smith seems unable to take “no” for an answer, and he has decided to file a legal challenge. (Technically, it is a statutory proceeding under the Texas Election Code, but it operates essentially as a lawsuit.) The legal challenge promises to cost everyone a lot of time and money. What a waste. Even Smith’s campaign manager gave him a “one-in-five shot” -- at best.

Justice Willett is a fantastic judge who deserves to retain his seat. Smith's main claim to fame is that, through a series of flukes, he was elected to the Court for a portion of one term several years ago.

More information appears here.