Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview that three candidates for nominations for the two vacant seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that are reserved for Texas enjoy his full support. “Judge Reed O’Connor is a nationally respected federal judge, who has a proven track record. Likewise, Justice Don Willett and Jim Ho are among our very best legal talents committed to conservative principles,” Paxton said.
The same three names continue cropping up across the Lone Star State. Willet is a Texas Supreme Court justice; O’Connor is a federal district judge; and Ho is the former Texas solicitor general.
Four top Texas conservative leaders have now sent a letter to President Donald Trump following up on Paxton’s statement to Breitbart News, endorsing the same three conservative Republicans: First Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackelford, Wallbuilders’ leaders David and Timothy Barton, Eagle Forum’s Cathie Adams, and Texas Values’ Jonathan Saenz.
“We have long admired the principled conservative leadership of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton,” the letter begins. “He has been an exceptional and fearless champion of the Constitution, and a relentless defender of conservative values, throughout his entire record of public service.”
The letter goes on to note Paxton’s applauding Cornyn and Cruz’s considering recommending Willet, O’Connor, and Ho to the president for judicial nominations, explicitly noting that Paxton had shared his thoughts with Breitbart News.
“We fully endorse these three gentlemen,” the letter declares.
“Judge O’Connor and Justice Willett are already known conservative Texas judges,” the leaders conclude, with records that are so long and consistently conservative that evidently those leaders do not believe that any further explanation is necessary.
Perhaps because Ho has never served on the bench, these Texan conservatives tell the president regarding Ho:
We have known Mr. Ho since his days as chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, where he was a tireless and stalwart advocate for all the issues we champion. In addition, Mr. Ho clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. Mr. Ho’s record of unswerving devotion to the Constitution has only continued over the subsequent decade—both as Solicitor General of Texas and in private practice. He has been one of the leading voices in Texas for religious liberty and has maintained one of the strongest and most consistent records of anyone we know.
There are 17 seats on the Fifth Circuit, three of which are currently vacant. President Trump is expected to start making judicial nominations sometime in the next three months.