Justice Willett A Man Of ‘Deep Intellect And Principle’

Will Be The 11th Nominee To A Circuit Court To Be Considered By The Full Senate This Year

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett … respects the rule of law and our foundational legal principles, and he will be a strong addition to the Fifth Circuit.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 12/12/2017)

  • JUSTICE WILLETT Recently Helped Save A Man’s Life: “Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett… successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on a father at an Austin Chick-fil-A on Tuesday night with the help of another man. ‘I was hunched over my MacBook, munching some Chick-fil-A chicken strips while discussing errands with my wife on my cell,’ Willett recounted in an email to the American-Statesman. ‘Suddenly, a nearby customer rushed to the booth in front of me and started performing the Heimlich maneuver on a dad who was dining with his young daughter. I hung up on my wife (first time in 21 years!) and jumped up. ‘The quick-acting Good Samaritan, Herson De La Garza, a middle school band director, had given three or four upward abdominal thrusts, but the man was still choking. Herson stepped aside, and I gave a quick thrust or two, dislodging the nugget and clearing the airway.  Herson was first on the scene and deserves enormous praise. I’m writing a letter to the superintendent recounting Herson’s Heimlich heroism. This all happened in the blink of an eye. I implore everyone to get trained on the Heimlich, CPR, and other basic life-saving skills. I squeezed my wife and three wee Willetts a little tighter tonight, and we prayed for this man's dear family. Life is precious — and fleeting.” (“Justice Don Willett Says He Successfully Performed Heimlich Maneuver At Austin Chick-Fil-A,” Austin-American Statesman, 11/28/2017)

TEXAS SENATORS: Justice Don Willett ‘Reflect[s] The Best Of Texas, And The Best Of America’

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “Jim Ho and Justice Don Willett have proven their sharp legal expertise and fidelity to the law throughout their distinguished careers in Texas… I was proud to join Senator Cruz in recommending both Texans to fill the vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and together we’ll fight for their swift confirmation by the full Senate.” (Sens. Cornyn & Cruz, Press Release, 12/7/2017)

  • SEN. CORNYN: “These two nominees reflect the best of Texas, and the best of America. They are each fathers, lawyers, scholars, public servants, and active participants in their communities.” (Sen. Cornyn, Press Release, 11/15/2017)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): “Justice Don Willett and Jim Ho are nominees of deep intellect and principle… Both of them, with their remarkable academic backgrounds and professional careers, have demonstrated a commitment to the rule of law and the Constitution. I am confident they will make extraordinary appellate judges, and look forward to their swift confirmation.” (Sens. Cornyn & Cruz, Press Release, 12/7/2017)

  • SEN. CRUZ: “…I believe both of you will be not just principled jurist on the Court of Appeals who will be faithful to the law and follow the Constitution but I believe in very short order both you will be jurist prudential stars nationally. That other Court of Appeals judges, other District Court judges will look to the opinions you write as an example of how to do the job as a federal appellate judge. Both of you are brilliant. Both you have remarkable academic backgrounds, remarkable professional backgrounds.” (Sen. Cruz, Press Release, 11/15/2017)

Justice Willet’s Record ‘One Of Unflinching Devotion To The Rule Of Law’

TEXAS SUPREME JUSTICE DON WILLETT: “My twelve-year record on the Supreme Court of Texas is one of unflinching devotion to the Rule of Law, and I have never hesitated to rule against my staunchest supporters when the law was not on their side. My vote follows the law – every time – regardless of a litigant’s wealth, status, or power.” (“Questions For The Record, Sen. Feinstein Question 6a,” Senate Judiciary Committee, 11/22/2017)

RETIRED TEXAS SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE WALLACE JEFFERSON: “During my tenure as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, I had occasion to work with more than twenty fellow Justices.  I was able to assess their judicial demeanor, professionalism, dedication to the law, and character. … Justice Willett brought unique perspectives to the Court’s deliberations.  Having served at the United States Justice Department, and the Office of the Texas Attorney General, Justice Willett understood the interplay among the branches of government, and the judiciary’s role in adjudicating disputes without imposing a judge’s or court’s personal preferences.  He appreciated the Court’s obligation to remain within its constitutional sphere, faithfully adjudicating live controversies in each case.  Justice Willett is a scholar.  He constantly studied the law, earning high praise from universities, foundations, and legal organizations for his astute exploration, in opinions for the Court and commentary for the country, of legal principles that shape our democracy. … I am confident that Justice Willett will be a thoughtful, hardworking, diligent, and influential member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  I am honored to recommend his confirmation.” (Retired Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, Letter To Sens. Grassley & Feinstein, 11/13/2017)

RETIRED TEXAS SUPREME COURT JUSTICES DALE WAINWRIGHT, HARRIET O’NEILL, SCOTT BRISTER & DAVID MEDINA: “The judiciary must be comprised of men and women who love this country, have exemplary character, have extensive legal experience, and believe in the rule of law.  Because Justice Don Willet is an outstanding jurist with those qualities, we wholeheartedly support his confirmation to the Unites States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. … Over the number of years that we served together on the Supreme Court of Texas, Justice Willett always sought to elucidate and enforce the legal principles in the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Texas.  His judicial philosophy evidenced a scrupulous commitment to the rule of law, and his authored opinions provided guidance on the law to the bench, the bar, and the public, in interesting and enjoyable prose. Justice Willett believes that the legislative and executive branches make the law; courts construe and apply the law to various disputes. His demonstrated belief is that the courts should enforce both constitutional rights and constitutional limitations and uphold the rule of law, but not enforce a personal agenda.  On occasion, we did not agree with each other or with him on the disposition of an appeal but we respected Don’s opinions and never doubted his devotion to principle.  The identities of the parties before the Texas Supreme Court did not change Don’s devotion to the rule of law.  And importantly, whether the Court’s opinion was unanimous or Don disagreed with any of us, he was always a gentleman and a courteous and respectful colleague. … We urge you to confirm Don Willett’s nomination to the United State Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.” (Four Retired Texas Supreme Court Justices, Letter To Sens. Grassley & Feinstein, 11/8/2017)


Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Nominations