The Amarillo Pioneer

Amarillo's only free online newspaper. Established in 2016, we work to bring you local news that is unbiased and honest.


Willett Confirmed to U.S. Circuit Court

Texas Supreme Court justice Don Willett has been confirmed to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Wednesday, Willett was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the next justice for the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate voted in a 50-47 partisan vote to confirm Willett to the spot. Willett was nominated earlier this year by President Donald Trump and is now expected to vacate his seat on the Texas Supreme Court.

Willett's confirmation came with opposition from some in the U.S. Senate. On Wednesday morning, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) told media members that Willett has a "frightening" record on the Texas Supreme Court.

In addition to Willett's confirmation, the U.S. Supreme Court also confirmed Texas attorney James C. Ho to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate voted 53-43 to confirm Ho's nomination. Unlike Willett, Ho picked up the support of Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (D-Nevada) and Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri).

As Willett will be vacating his seat on the Supreme Court, two candidates have filed to seek his spot on the Texas Supreme Court in 2018. Jimmy Blacklock, a Republican counselor for the governor, has earned the support of Governor Greg Abbott. Harris County judge Steven Kirkland, a Democrat, is also running.

Photo by Governing Magazine

Photo by Governing Magazine

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