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Texas Supreme Court Justice, Place 6 - Unexpired Term

6-year term. Must be age 35-74 years, a U.S. Citizen, a Texas resident, licensed to practice law in Texas, a r egistered voter, and have at least 10 years experience as a lawyer or judge. Hears final appeals of decisions on civil cases and attorney discipline, issuing writs of mandamus/habeas corpus, and conducting proceedings for removal of judges.

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    Jane Bland
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Kathy Cheng
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

Qualifications: What training, experience, and background qualify you for this position?

Judicial Selection: Texas is one of the few states that elect judges in partisan elections. What changes in the judicial selection process would you recommend, if any?

Standards: What changes, if any, do you think are necessary to improve public confidence in the legal profession?

Biases: What training and practices do you recommend for trial judges to guard against implicit biases?

Other Issues: What other issues do you believe will be the most pressing for the Texas Supreme Court?

I have served more than 20 years at three levels of the state judiciary: as a trial judge, as a justice on the court of appeals, and now on the Supreme Court of Texas. I am board certified in civil trial law and civil appellate law.
No change in judicial selection can happen without the support of the voters and their elected representatives. Governor Abbott and the Texas Legislature have formed a bi-partisan commission charged with making recommendations about judicial selection. I look forward to these recommendations, and I support this process.
We can improve public confidence by respecting and valuing all people who encounter our courts, reducing the cost of resolving disputes through innovation and technology, educating lawyers about best practices, and serving needs of those who cannot afford a lawyer. I have done that work through leadership positions in the bar and as a community volunteer.
I recommend that trial judges cultivate standards of excellence by incorporating the best practices of others from all walks of life and foster understanding even in disagreement or when faced with terrible circumstances. The Texas Center for the Judiciary offers excellent courses for judges on understanding implicit bias and improving decision-making.
The Court will continue to work toward advancing justice and the rule of law during the pandemic.
I have almost twenty years of legal experience in areas including complex commercial issues, divorce and probate, tax and real estate cases. I have also served as adjudication officer for the City of Houston for about six years.
The beauty of democracy is that citizens can vote for individuals who they believe reflect their values, which in the State of Texas includes the election of judges. If that choice turns out to be a bad choice, being able to vote elected officials out of office is a mechanism to hold said officials accountable. As such, I see no need for change at the present time.
As time evolves, the means of disseminating the rules and standards for the legal profession shall also evolve. With the ease of digital accessibility, there should be more educational information available to the general public by digital means of the rules and standards governing said profession so that the general population are better informed as to their rights.
Raising awareness of the existence of implicit bias through regular meeting discussion can debias the years of exposure to cultural stereotypes, narratives and/or systemic policies. In addition, implement a mandatory annual implicit bias training for judges and staff members.
With the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to refrain from hearing challenges of partisan gerrymandering, partisan gerrymandering cases will now go before the Texas Supreme Court, which is an example of how this Court impacts its citizens even though the citizens themselves may never go before this Court.