Today, the United States Senate confirmed the Honorable Justice Don Willett’s appointment to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Justice Willett to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit earlier this year. Texas Right to Life applauds the Senate’s decision and congratulates Justice Willett on his confirmation.
Justice Willett is currently serving his second full term on the Supreme Court of Texas. Pro-Life Governor Rick Perry first appointed Justice Willett to that position in 2005. Since then, Justice Willett won re-election twice with the proud endorsement and assistance of Texas Right to Life Political Action Committee.
President Trump’s nomination of a committed, constructionist jurist to the Fifth Circuit is an important step to upholding Pro-Life laws in Texas. Challenges to Pro-Life laws in Texas are typically heard by the Fifth Circuit, because appeals to district court decisions in Texas generally move to the Fifth Circuit. This includes the Office of the Texas Attorney General’s recent appeal of a district judge’s ruling against the Dismemberment Abortion Ban. Previously, the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of landmark Pro-Life legislation such as the 2011 Sonogram Law, Texas’s efforts to eliminate public family planning dollars from the abortion industry, and improved health and safety standards for the abortion industry. The Fifth Circuit has also upheld First Amendment rights in ruling that a state agency cannot limit the speech of private individuals who engage in political discourse. The confirmation of Justice Willett is a promising indication that the Fifth Circuit will remain principled in ruling on Texas’s Pro-Life laws.
Widely known as “Tweeter Laureate of Texas,” Justice Willett has gained a following on Twitter with legal, conservative, and political audiences.
Before joining the Supreme Court of Texas, Justice Willett served in the administration of President George W. Bush and worked with the Office of the Texas Attorney General under then-Attorney General Greg Abbott as the Deputy Texas Attorney General for Legal Counsel. His contributions as a principled conservative led to Governor Rick Perry’s appointment of Justice Willett to fill a vacancy on the Texas Supreme Court in 2005.
At the time of his nomination, Elizabeth Graham, Texas Right to Life Director, stated, “We are very pleased that President Trump has recognized in Justice Willett what we Texans have seen for years—a reverence for the letter of the law with no imagined penumbras or shadows in the Constitution. Justice Willett will serve President Trump and our nation as an intelligent, thoughtful, and qualified jurist.”
Following today’s confirmation by the United States Senate, Justice Willett is slated to join the Fifth Circuit.