Clockwise from back left, Justices Johnson, Medina, Wainwright, Brister, Green, Willett, O'Neill, Chief Justice Jefferson, and Justice Hecht.
Last month, the Houston Bar Association sent Blawgletter a copy of its 2009 Judicial Evaluation Results.1 How did the 1,003 HBA members who responded rate the nine justices of the Texas Supreme Court?
Three of Their Honors did well. They got "outstanding" as their frequentest mark in the "overall" slot:
- 52.5 percent for Justice Harriet O'Neill.
- 51.5 percent for Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson.
- 40.3 percent for Justice Dale Wainwright.
The other six earned fewer "outstanding" votes than "poor" or "acceptable" ones. In fact, each of them received a plurality — and in one case a majority — of "poor" ratings. Thus:
- 36.2 for Justice Phil Johnson.
- 43 percent for Justice Scott A. Brister.
- 43.7 percent for Justice Paul W. Green and Justice Don R. Willett.
- 47.6 percent for Justice Nathan L. Hecht.
- 50.5 percent for Justice David Medina.
Comparing overall the HBA tallies from 2007 to the latest (2007/2009):
Outstanding Acceptable Poor
Justice Brister 37.4/35.9 17.0/21.1 45.6/43.0
Justice Green 36.8/25.1 32.6/31.1 30.6/43.7
Justice Hecht 37.3/33.8 15.1/18.6 47.6/47.6
Chief Justice Jefferson 56.2/51.5 22.3/21.4 21.5/27.1
Justice Johnson 37.6/31.9 27.1/31.9 35.3/36.2
Justice Medina 41.2/21.9 30.0/27.6 28.8/50.5
Justice O'Neill 59.3/52.5 26.2/28.5 14.5/19.0
Justice Wainwright 47.5/40.3 27.4/25.6 25.1/34.1
Justice Willett 31.8/27.4 22.9/28.8 45.2/43.7
As you can see, all justices lost ground in the "outstanding" category, with Justices Green and Medina slipping the most (11.7 and 19.3 percentage points, respectively).
We can't read too much into the straw poll. It doesn't look at all scientific. But neither does it look good — overall.
Our feed lives in a pineapple under the sea.
1 Yes, we belong to the HBA — an artifact of starting the law practice in the Space City.