You are here

Trump taps two Texans — Willett and Ho — for judicial posts

Texas Tribune, September 28, 2017

By: Patrick Svitek

President Donald Trump is nominating two Texans to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and Dallas attorney James Ho.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, confirmed the appointments during a conference call with reporters Thursday. The news was first reported by the San Antonio Express-News.

"Both of these gentlemen, I think, will do an outstanding job," Cornyn told reporters.

They would need to be confirmed by the Senate.

Willett, a well-known Twitter user, has served on the state Supreme Court since 2005. During the 2016 presidential race, Trump had named Willett as a potential choice for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ho is the former solicitor general of Texas. He has also served as chief counsel for Cornyn.

The nominations are particularly a victory for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who had been reportedly pushing for Ho behind the scenes. Ho had succeeded Cruz as solicitor general.

"I am thrilled to support the nominations of Don Willett and Jim Ho to the Fifth Circuit," Cruz said in a statement. "I have been close friends with them both for decades, and I know them personally to be brilliant lawyers and principled conservatives."

Gov. Greg Abbott called the nominations "outstanding choices."

"As Texas' Attorney General, I had the pleasure of working with both Don and James and can attest to their brilliance as lawyers and their unwavering commitment to the Rule of Law," Abbott said in a statement. "I look forward to their approval by the U.S. Senate and to their service on the 5th Circuit, where I know they will uphold the Constitution."