overdue for a radical change in its judiciary.” Justices on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, for example, must “struggle for campaign donations and attention,” but although “they hold the power of life or death,” only “a handful of Texans know about them or what they do.” The editorial concludes that “Texas should move to an appointed system with appointed judges who stand for retention elections at regular intervals.” In addition, Texas should “have only one supreme court for civil and criminal appeals.” Texas’ Court System in Need of Reform to Gain Public Trust, Austin American-Statesman, September 15, 2002.
Article reports that Texas Supreme Court candidate Steven Wayne Smith (R.) has said that affirmative action, which he fought as a lawyer, “has placed ‘underqualified’ minorities in colleges.” He “suggested that even Texas Supreme Court Justice Xavier Rodriguez, whom Smith defeated in the GOP primary, and former Texas Attorney General Dan Morales might have been better off attending the University of Texas instead of Harvard.” Smith said that affirmative action means that “you’re always having minorities compete with people who are better prepared to be there.” Rodriguez was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to fill the term of Greg Abbott, who resigned to run for attorney general; Smith called the appointment “racial politics.” Smith “readily admits that his willingness to discuss controversial issues helps him get press coverage to overcome his meager campaign war chest,” which lags far behind that of his opponent, Margaret Mirabal (D.). Janet Elliott, Candidate Rips Affirmative Action, Houston Chronicle, September 20, 2002.
Article discusses the race for a vacant seat on the Texas Supreme Court, a “campaign that almost certainly won’t make it on to the radar screen of most voters.” The two candidates, District Judge Jim Parsons (D.) and District Judge Dale Wainwright (R.), both acknowledge “problems with the state’s judicial election system, although neither wants to switch to an appointment system.” Judge Wainwright, who “favors some campaign finance reform and extending the length of judicial terms,” said, “Texans across this state, I would venture to guess, would fight a civil war if you try to take away their right to vote” for judges. Parsons supports similar reforms and has also “proposed electing Supreme Court judges from nine judicial districts to give the court more regional balance.” Bruce Davidson, Court Candidates ‘Along for the Ride’, San Antonio Express-News, September 22, 2002.
92. Article reports that Steven Wayne Smith (R.), a candidate for the Texas Supreme Court, “has antagonized Republicans and Democrats alike, criticized affirmative action and attacked the conservative credentials of the nine GOP members of the high court bench.” Smith’s “controversial style” is leading some Republicans to support his opponent, Appeals Court Judge Margaret Mirabal (D.), who is “collecting thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Republican attorneys and conservative corporate law firms” and has earned the support of