WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today released the following statement after the Senate confirmed Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit:
“I am grateful for the Senate’s swift confirmation of Justice Don Willett,” Sen. Cruz said. “I have been close friends with Don for decades, and know him to be a principled jurist of the highest order. His life has been characterized by service and fidelity to the rule of law, from the Texas Governor Office, to the White House, to the Department of Justice, to the Texas Attorney General’s office, to the Texas Supreme Court, and now to the Fifth Circuit. Every step along the way, Justice Willett has stood out as a man of intellect and principle, and I am excited to see him serve as an exemplary federal judge on the Fifth Circuit.”
Sen. Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) recommended Justice Don Willett to President Trump following an extensive review and interview process of the candidate pool by the bipartisan Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee (FJEC). Sen. Cruz and Sen. Cornyn established the FJEC, a bipartisan panel of leading attorneys in Texas, to help identify the most qualified candidates to fill judicial vacancies. The panel reviewed applications, interviewed candidates, and made recommendations to the Senators, who interviewed individuals before making their recommendations to the President.
Texas Supreme Court Justice, Don Willett: Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Justice Don Willett currently serves as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court. He was appointed to that 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.
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