Texas Supreme Court Justice Phil Johnson submitted his resignation from the court on November 8 and will leave office on December 31.

“You feel like in this position you can make a difference,” Johnson said in a press release. “The law is the superstructure of society, the framework for doing what we can do. I’ll miss that I was contributing. That’s what I’ll miss about it.”

Johnson has served as a Texas judge for 20 years, 13 years on the Supreme Court and seven as a justice on the 7th Court of Appeals in Amarillo, including time as chief justice of the court. His term on the Supreme Court was set to end in December 2020.

“He made a vast and indelible contribution to Texas law,” said Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht in a press release. “Justice Johnson is greatly beloved and admired by the court and its staff, and we will miss his wise and steady leadership greatly.”

A U.S. Air Force pilot and Vietnam War veteran, Johnson received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1975. He practiced at Crenshaw Dupree & Milam in Lubbock, becoming a partner before being elected to the 7th Court of Appeals in Amarillo in 1998. Johnson is certified in personal injury and civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a member of the American Law Institute.