Judicial Election Hijinks in Texas

For Place 5, will voters choose the flashy, untested show horse, or the reliable workhorse?

All judges in Texas are selected by the voters, in partisan elections. I have reported previously (here and here) about the contest for Place 3 on the Texas Supreme Court, between incumbent Justice Debra Lehrmann and challenger Justice Michael Massengale, currently serving on the First Court of Appeals in Houston. In Texas, Supreme Court justices are elected for six year terms, and each election three members of the nine-member court face the voters, in both a primary election and the general election in November. (For the past 20 years or so, all statewide elected officials in Texas, including justices on the Texas Supreme Court, have been Republican, so the real action is in the primary.) The 2016 primary in Texas will be held on March 1. The filing deadline has now passed, and all three seats on the court that could be contested are contested. In addition to Place 3 (Lehrmann vs. Massengale), the incumbent in Place 9, Justice Eva Guzman, faces a challenge by perennial candidate Joe Pool, Jr., an attorney who ran unsuccessfully in 2012 and 2014, and the incumbent in Place 5, Justice Paul W. Green, faces a challenge by conservative activist Rick Green, a former state legislator who ran for the court unsuccessfully in 2010. This post will focus on the potentially confusing Green vs. Green race. First, a bit of background about judicial elections in Texas.

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