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Midland Reporter-Telegram - High Court Judges Ask GOP to Turn Out Vote

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Location: Midland, TX

Midland Reporter-Telegram - High Court Judges Ask GOP to Turn Out Vote

Bob Campbell

It used to be that a state judicial seat was safe from election to election -- once a judge, always a judge.

But that truism may no longer necessarily hold, three Texas Supreme Court justices told the Midland County Republican Women's Club Wednesday at Midland Country Club.

All facing aggressive, well-funded Democrats in the Nov. 4 election, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, Place 7 Justice Dale Wainwright and Place 8 Justice Phil Johnson called on the more than 200 club members present to help reverse the GOP's turnout doldrums of 2006 and ensure their party's continued statewide dominance.

Jefferson is opposed by 160th District Court Judge Jim Jordan of Dallas, Wainwright by Houston attorney Sam Houston and Johnson by 13th Court of Appeals Justice Linda Reyna Yanez of Corpus Christi.

Jefferson said those Democrats threaten the fabric of the state's legal system because they promise to be left-leaning partisans on the Austin court.

"They've all said, 'The Texas Supreme Court is too conservative and I'm going to make it more liberal,'" said Jefferson. "What is the job of a judge? It is simply to interpret the law and give the power back to the people."

Johnson said he strenuously opposes the Democrats' "activist" approach. "If you pre-judge cases, that means a quota," he said.

"I would be a bad judge if I did that because it would be a violation of my oath of office."

Wainwright said all 42 of Dallas County's Republican office holders were beaten by Democrats two years ago because 40,000 Republicans who had taken part in the 2002 election there stayed home.

"If only 21,000 of those had voted, we would not have lost a race," Wainwright said. "The Democrats smell blood this year and we have the most contested statewide races we've had in 12-14 years.

"The kind of effort we made in 1993-94, when George W. Bush was elected governor, is what we need this year."

Wainwright said the Republican justices have worked hard enough to earn new terms.

"We wrote 131 opinions last year, which is the most we have done so far this century," he said. "At the Supreme Court of Texas, all of our cases are hard. They filter up and we use our discretion to take the most important."

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