Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and attorney James C. Ho were nominated to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals today by President Donald J. Trump.
Willett was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 2005 by then-Gov. Rick Perry. Willett replaced former Justice Priscilla Owen, who had been nominated for the 5th Circuit by then-President George W. Bush. Willett was re-elected to the court in 2006 and 2012.
He previously served as deputy attorney general for legal counsel under then-Attorney General of Texas Greg Abbott from 2003 to 2005. He was deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice from 2002 to 2003. He clerked for 5th Circuit Judge Jerre Stockton Williams. Willett received his Juris Doctor from Duke University.
Willett had been on the shortlist of President Trump’s potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees.
Ho is currently a partner in the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and co-chair of the firm’s appellate and constitutional law practice. He previously served as solicitor general of Texas under Attorney General Abbott and chief counsel to Sen. John Cornyn. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge Jerry E. Smith of the 5th Circuit.
Also nominated was Kyle Duncan, a partner in Schaerr Duncan in Washington, D.C., who served in the Texas Attorney General’s office as an assistant solicitor general from 1992 to 2002, and Kurt D. Engelhardt, chief judge of the Eastern District of Louisiana.