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Texas Supreme Court, Place 6

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    Mark Ash (L) Attorney

  • Jeff Brown (R) Justice, Supreme Court of Texas

  • Lawrence Edward Meyers (D)

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Biographical Information

Length of residency in Texas:

Occupation/main source of income:

Education (include all degrees):

Highlights of current civic involvement/accomplishment:

Highlights of past civic involvement/accomplishment:

Previous public offices sought or held:

How much funding have you raised for your campaign?

Who are your top three contributors?

Have you ever been arrested or involved in any criminal proceedings or civil suits? If so, please explain:

Have you ever been involved in any civil lawsuits or declared personal or professional bankruptcy? If so, please explain:

What is an example of how you led a team or group toward achieving an important goal?

What judge or attorney do you most admire and why?

Why are you running for this office?

Why should voters choose you over your opponent?

As a judge (if applicable), have any complaints been filed against you to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. If so, please explain the disposition of those complaints.

As a lawyer, have you had any grievances filed against you with the State Bar of Texas? If so, what was the disposition (unfounded, private reprimand, public reprimand, suspension, disbarment)?

What value do you place on precedent? What would motivate you to deviate from precedent?

How should the state make sure that the legal needs of poor and working class defendants are being met?

A growing number of Texans, from consumers to corporate general counsels, report a growing concern with the cost, effectiveness and fairness of mandatory arbitration proceedings. Does this concern you and how should the Texas Supreme Court and the State Bar address it?

How important are unanimous Supreme Court opinions? What would prompt you to write a separate opinion?

Writing is an important part of this job. If opinions are not clear, the public, including lawyers and lower courts, are left confused. How should voters judge you in this area?

Does the court have the right to intervene if the Legislature fails to fund key constitutional responsibilities such as schools, jails and highways? If so, how does the court enforce that obligation?

Some see this court as pro-business. Is that accurate and, if so, does it impact justice?

Does this court have a significant backlog? If so, what would you do to reduce it?

What is a reasonable length of time for the court to dispose of a plaintiff’s case?

Because Texas selects its judges and justices through partisan elections, you chose to run as a Republican, Democrat or member of another political party. What philosophies of that party led you to choose it for this race?

Do you support our system of electing judges in partisan contests? Or would you favor moving to a different system, such as one where judges are appointed and then run later in non-partisan retention elections?

The Supreme Court oath that all lawyers take requires them to say that “we will avoid the appearance of impropriety.” In light of that, how can judges justify accepting campaign contributions from lawyers who have appeared or may appear before them in court?

City/Town Houston, TX 77002
Age 54
Campaign Phone Number (713) 571-1603
Fax Number 7135719170
Email Address markashlawyer@yahoo.com
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
Address 900 West Avenue
City/Town Austin
Age 47
Campaign Phone Number (512) 330-4146
44 years (my whole life)
Justice, Supreme Court of Texas
Bachelor of Arts in English, University of Texas at Austin, 1992; Doctor of Jurisprudence, magna cum laude, University of Houston Law Center, 1995
Chairman, Board of Directors, Houston Law Review; Member, Board of Directors, Texas Historical Foundation; Vice-President, University of Houston Law Alumni Association; Member, Advisory Board, LifeHouse of Houston; Member, Board of Trustees, Texas Supreme Court Historical Society; Member, Troop Committee, Boy Scout Troop 222
Named Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, 2008; Named One of Five Outstanding Young Texans by the Texas Jaycees, 2006; Member, Board of Trustees, Bellaire United Methodist Church; Member, Board of Directors, Texas Lyceum; Member, Board of Directors, Christian Community Service Center; Graduate, Leadership Houston, Class XVIII; Cubmaster, Committee Chairman, and Den Leader, Cub Scout Pack 130; Coach for various youth baseball, soccer, and football teams
Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, 2007-2013; Judge, 55th District Court, 2001-2007; In 2010, sought Republican nomination for Justice, Supreme Court of Texas, Place 3
about $900,000
Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, Vinson & Elkins PAC, Andrews & Kurth Texas PAC
I have never been arrested or involved in any criminal proceedings. I was involved in a civil suit earlier this year because my primary opponent unsuccessfully sued to have me removed from the ballot.
I have never declared personal or professional bankruptcy. As stated above, I was involved in a civil lawsuit earlier this year because one of my opponents unsuccessfully sued to have me removed from the ballot.
In 2012, I agreed to serve as the acting Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 222 during its trip from Houston for a week-long stay at Gorham Scout Ranch in New Mexico. We took 50 boys between the ages of 11 and 14. "Herding cats" doesn't even begin to describe it. But I didn't really lead the boys--I guided and counseled the boy leaders whose job it was to lead the boys. (I did, however, have to lead the other dads who made the trip.) We had a handful of important goals and we achieved all of them: we traveled safely to and from camp, the boys had a great outdoors experience and earned a lot of badges, and we all had fun.
I have long admired Thomas More, who was a lawyer, judge, and chancellor of England during the reign of Henry VIII. More was renowned for his wisdom, his fairness, and his incorruptibility. He was devoted to the law, his country, his family, and his faith. I admire him for all of these qualities, as well as for his ability to face adversity with cheerfulness and wit. But most of all, I respect the integrity that led him to sacrifice his own life rather than compromise his conscience. I also have long admired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John M. Harlan. Like More, Harlan was dedicated patriot, family man, and proponent of the rule of law. He was considered "the great dissenter" of the Warren Court because he abhorred the Warren Court's judicial activism. In that vein, he stated once that he disagreed "that every major social ill in this country can find its cure in some constitutional principle and that this court should take the lead in promoting reform when other branches of government fail to act. The Constitution is not a panacea for every blot upon the public welfare nor should this court, ordained as a judicial body, be thought of as a general haven of reform movements." He was known for his devotion to judicial conservatism and the doctrine of "stare decisis," for his gentlemanly civility to even those with whom he disagreed, and for the clarity with which he wrote his opinions. Of the current members of the U.S. Supreme Court, I believe my philosophy most matches that of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito. I hold all three of them in very high esteem, and I was especially honored to have Justice Scalia administer the oath to me when I became a member of the Supreme Court of Texas last year.
I have had an enduring respect for the Supreme Court of Texas ever since I served as a law clerk on the Court in my first year out of law school. I clerked first for Justice Jack Hightower, an elder-statesman conservative Democrat, and then for his successor, Justice Greg Abbott, an up-and-coming young Republican. I'm now just the fourth former law clerk of the Court to become a justice. I'm running because I believe I have the experience and good judgment to make an excellent justice for the people of Texas. I grew up the son of police officer, which instilled in me at an early age a respect for both the rule of law and for the importance of public service. That respect has only grown over the years, and has been buttressed by my experiences as a trial judge and an appellate judge. I'm running because I believe I have a lot to offer the Court and the people of Texas, and I believe I'm uniquely qualified to be an excellent justice on the Supreme Court of Texas. To serve them as judges, Texans want constitutional conservatives and men and women of impeccable integrity. I am that kind of judge.
Voters should choose me over my opposition because I am better qualified, have the most relevant experience, and my conservative judicial philosophy fits best with what most Texans are looking for in a Supreme Court justice. The Supreme Court of Texas is the highest court in the state for civil matters. After clerking at the Court in my first year out of law school, I practiced civil litigation at one of the state's largest and finest law firms, trying civil cases to judges and juries across Southeast Texas, enabling me to become board-certified in civil trial law. I then served six years as a civil-district judge in the state's most populous county, and then nearly six more years as an appellate justice at the intermediate court-of-appeals level before coming to the Supreme Court of Texas. Along the way, I earned top marks in the bar polls and received three judge-of-the-year awards, including one for Appellate Judge of the Year from the Texas Association of Civil Trial & Appellate Specialists. No other candidate in this race has such a breadth of experience trying and judging civil cases. I am a proven jurist, a proven judicial conservative, and am devoted to the rule of law, my family, my faith, and the traditional values that Texans hold dear.
If I have had any complaints filed against me to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, they were summarily dismissed. It's my understanding that complaints are often filed against judges and dismissed when it's clear that they are obviously unfounded, often without even notifying the judge that the complaint had been lodged. I have never been asked by the commission to respond to any complaint, and have certainly never been reprimanded or otherwise punished by the commission.
No.
I place a very high value on precedent. Respect for precedent--the doctrine of "stare decisis"--helps ensure that the law is predictable and fairly applied. When courts deviate from precedent, litigants can't be sure that similar cases will be decided in similar ways. The integrity of the courts and the legitimacy of the law require that precedent be followed in all but the most extraordinary circumstances. I would deviate from precedent only when a prior decision very clearly runs afoul of constitutional principles. In these very rare instances, precedent must be overturned. If that weren't the case, abominations like Plessy v. Ferguson, overruled in Brown v. Board of Education, would be untouchable.
The legislature, the judiciary, and the legal profession each bears some responsibility for ensuring that all Texans have access to the courts. All three have taken that responsibility very seriously. In 2001, the Supreme Court of Texas created the Texas Access to Justice Commission. The commission is charged with developing and implementing initiatives designed to expand access to, and enhance the quality of, justice in civil legal matters for low-income Texans. Through contributions of time, talent, and money from attorneys across the state, as well as through funding provided by the legislature even when times were lean, the commission has made great strides in reaching its goals. The Court will continue to support this important mission, and will continue to seek additional ways to improve access to the courts for all Texans. I myself am a regular contributor to the Access to Justice Commission.
I share the concern that arbitration has not lived up to its billing as a cheaper, faster alternative to traditional trials. In addition, as more disputes are submitted to arbitration rather than the courts, the development of the common law has suffered. The judiciary and the legal profession should address this concern by making the product we offer--the traditional trial--more attractive to litigants. Through its rulemaking authority, the Supreme Court over the last several years has streamlined legal proceedings so that cases get to trial faster and with less expense. The judiciary can also enhance faith in the courts and the traditional trial by just doing its job. Crafting well-reasoned opinions that adhere to precedent and handing down decisions as expeditiously as possible keeps justice predictable and swift--exactly what litigants were looking for when they first resorted to arbitration.
Unanimous opinions are important because they enhance the faith that the public has in the Court's decisions. As a justice on the court of appeals, I very rarely wrote separately and only when, after careful consideration and discussion with my colleagues, I simply could not agree with the majority's decision in a case. I strove to keep my separate writings concise and respectful. Sometimes my minority view would win the day when the case was appealed to the Supreme Court. Now that I am on the Supreme Court, I will approach writing separately in the same fashion. Unanimity is good when it is possible, but sometimes integrity requires otherwise.
My record as an opinion writer speaks for itself. As a justice on the court of appeals, I wrote dozens of opinions each year. I take pride in writing plainly, clearly, and concisely. My love for writing is one of many things that attracted me to the law in general, and specifically to serving as an appellate judge. I've received high marks in bar polls for my writing. I have also written scholarly articles for legal journals and law reviews and have taught legal research and writing to law students. My affinity for good writing has influenced my service on the editorial board of The Advocate, the quarterly journal of the State Bar's Litigation Section, and as chairman of the board of directors of the Houston Law Review.
If a case reaches the Court challenging the legislature's failure to uphold one of its constitutional obligations, the Court will hear it and provide whatever relief is legally appropriate. The Court does not have the authority to seek out constitutional violations and correct them. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 78, the judiciary "has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment." And even when the judiciary does render judgment, Hamilton continued, it still "must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments." This is an integral part of the checks and balances, the separation of powers, that make our form of government work. And it is the foundation of the doctrine of judicial restraint.
The Court is neither pro-business nor "pro-" any other category of litigant. To the contrary, the Court works to apply justice even-handedly to all who come before it. The Court adheres to "stare decisis" and gives effect to the legislative will when interpreting statutes by sticking close to the plain language. In so doing, the Court maintains the law's predictability and rationality, which is good for all the litigants in Texas' courts.
The Court does not have a significant backlog. Just a few years ago, it had a substantial backlog, likely created by an unusually large amount of turnover among the justices. But the Court worked hard to successfully pare it down. Now it's just a matter of the Court keeping up with its caseload by working diligently and turning out decisions as quickly as possible, consistent with doing justice in every case.
Every case is unique. It takes a different amount of time and effort to dispose of each one. But in each case, the Court works as expeditiously as it can while still making sure that each litigant receives justice.
I am a political conservative, and the Republican Party is the more conservative of the two major political parties in the United States. More relevantly, I am a judicial conservative, and I believe that judicial conservatism finds a better philosophical home among Republicans that it does elsewhere. Judicial conservatism is marked by an especially high regard for "stare decisis," a deep appreciation for the constitutional limitations of judicial power (judicial restraint), and a preference for sticking close to the plain text of statutes and constitutional provisions when called upon to interpret them (strict constructionism).
I do support our system of electing judges in partisan contests. I believe that the risk of judicial tyranny means that judges should periodically be held accountable to the people. Moreover, because there are so many judicial contests each election year, it is difficult for the electorate to learn much about the various candidates for judicial office. Party identification may tell them at least something about each candidate's judicial philosophy. That said, I am open-minded about considering other forms of judicial selection. It's possible, for instance, that retention elections would provide the public more accountability than our current system does. A drawback of partisan elections is that winners are often decided in sweeps determined by the popularity of candidates at the top of the ballot rather than on the relative qualifications of judicial candidates whose races garner much less attention.
Over the last twelve years, I have worked hard to build a reputation for fairness and integrity. I have always received high marks in judicial bar polls for impartiality and even-handedness. I would do nothing to jeopardize that hard-won reputation. I presume that those lawyers who give to judicial campaigns do so because they value judges with experience, integrity, intelligence, and a strong work ethic. If they're making contributions to my campaign with the thought that they'll get something more sinister for their money, they're sorely mistaken.
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The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
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The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
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