a perception of impropriety, though he argues that “the judges make decisions based on the merits” of a case, not campaign donations. Jordan Smith, Is Texas High Court Contaminated by Toxic Campaign Cash?, Austin Chronicle, June 6, 2003.
Article reports that Texas Court of Appeals Justice Paul Green has “said he definitely will run for the Texas Supreme Court next year, setting up a showdown that has as much to do with Green’s qualifications as it does political payback. Green, a nine-year veteran on the San Antonio-based appeals court, said he has the support of Gov. Rick Perry, who is still incensed over the defeat of Supreme Court Justice Xavier Rodriguez in the 2002 Republican primary.” Rodriguez lost to Steven Wayne Smith, “who some believe ran a crass campaign against the Latino incumbent by branding him as not a ‘true conservative.’” Green “has hired Dave Carney, one of the governor’s chief political strategists,” a move that “will come in handy in a statewide election that could cost upward of $1 million.” Jaime Castillo, High-Court Race Shaping Up as Shot at Political Payback for Perry, San Antonio Express-News, October 4, 2003.
Texas State Rep. Elizabeth Ames Jones (R.) argues that the state’s current judicial selection system, “a mixture of gubernatorial appointment, partisan elections and unopposed races,” is inconsistent and makes some votes matter more than others. Citing survey results, Rep. Jones endorses a system of gubernatorial appointment with nonpartisan retention elections, which she argues would “improve judicial accountability, minimize judicial activism and enhance public perception of the Texas judiciary.” Legislation that would have given Texans “the opportunity to vote” on amending the constitution to allow for nonpartisan retention elections had the support of Republicans and Democrats “representing various geographic regions and populations of the state” but “was killed in the House Judiciary Committee” this spring.. Elizabeth Ames Jones, Remove the Partisanship, Money from Judicial Races, San Antonio Express- News, November 9, 2003.
Article reports that “San Antonio Appeals Court Judge Paul Green … filed
in the GOP primary against embattled Texas Supreme Court Justice Steven Wayne Smith.” Judge Green “is endorsed by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn [R., Tex.], Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Craig Enoch.” Justice Smith, who was elected in 2002 to finish the term of Greg Abbott, who stepped down to run for attorney general, “was disavowed by some of his party’s leaders for making racially charged comments” during the campaign. If re-elected, Justice Smith would serve a full six-year term. He said, “Supreme Court justices should expect to be challenged, even in the party primaries.” However, he added that he had “defeated tough, well-funded opponents before, and with the help of grassroots Republicans I will do so again.”