On Wednesday, Dec. 13, the U.S. Senate confirmed Justice Don Willett to fill a vacancy on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a court that represents Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

He was recommended to the Fifth Circuit position by Texas Senator Ted Cruz following an extensive interview process by the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee (FJEC).

The bipartisan FJEC was established by Senator Cruz and Texas Senator John Cornyn to help address judicial vacancies in the state.

In separate statements, both Cruz and Cornyn spoke highly of Willett and praised his confirmation by the Senate.

“I am grateful for the Senate’s swift confirmation of Justice Don Willett,” Sen. Cruz said. “I have been close friends with Don for decades, and know him to be a principled jurist of the highest order.

 

“Through his principled service on the Texas Supreme Court, Justice Willett has proven his devotion to justice and the rule of law,” said Sen. Cornyn.

On Wednesday, Cruz gave his remarks on the Senate floor.

It was announced in late November that Jimmy Blacklock, general counsel to Governor Greg Abbott, will be appointed to replace Willett on the Texas Supreme Court.

However, Blacklock will be running for re-election almost as soon as he assumes the position, since Willett’s term on the Supreme Court officially ends on December 31, 2017.

He faces a potential challenger in that 2018 race with Democrat Steven Kirkland, a current district judge in Harris County.