Eva Guzman becomes first Hispanic woman to serve on the Texas Supreme Court

Justice Eva Guzman

Justice Eva Guzman

Lost to many to noise coming out the Texas gubernatorial campaign was Eva Guzman’s appointment to the Texas Supreme Court.  Guzman father was an immigrant welder and her mother was cleaning lady. Justice Guzman has an undergraduate degree from the University of Houston as well as a law degree from South Texas College of Law. The  story that seems to have the best coverage is in the Houston Chronicle (her hometown paper). Before Governor Perry appointed her to the Supreme Court Guzman had been serving as an associate justice on the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston and as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.

Perry’s appointment of Guzman was made possible when Scott Brister left the Court last month in order to go into private practice. While Guzman will have to face election by statewide voters her appointment by the Governor will obviously making winning that election easier. Appointing judges to this kind of vacancy is a good example of the Texas Governor’s ability to shape the court system even in a system in which judges are elected. For example, note that Perry initially appointed Guzman to her previous position on the  appointed Guzman to the 14th Court of Appeals in 2001 and Guzman went on to win election to that seat in both 2002 and 2004  Running as a sitting justice, Guzman will have an advantage with campaign contributors and voters because incumbency helps with both visibility and credibility. Voters can choose not to retain judges initially appointed by the governor, but such rejections seem rare.

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The Dallas Morning News ran a short interview with Guzman on October 25.

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