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Knowing A3G’s disdain for the state judiciary as a whole, I offer only this paltry justification in defense of my defense of Justice Hecht’s defense: the implications of the Commission’s actions in Texas equally redound to the federal judiciary, and could well be used to thwart future classes of “The Elect” from so becoming.
You are quite correct Default that I do not frequent online dictionaries for reference or citation. That being said, relying too heavily on a dictionary of any kind in the practice of law is never an advisable course of action. That is precisely why the statutory and common law distinction that has arisen in Texas resulting from the election of our judiciary--and from which much consternation has rightly ensued--is all the more pertinent. However, you are admittedly correct that parsing the language of the Judicial Canons will probably not prove as persuasive in the appeal of this admonition as the First Amendment arguments will no doubt be.
It should come as little shock to A3G that supposedly nonpartisan political offices in my Great State of Texas are sometimes and sadly misused for perceived political advantage. A3G is absolutely correct that the justifications for the Commission’s admonition are dubious on their face. The first canon the Commission found Justice Hecht to have violated prohibits the “lend[ing] of [judicial] prestige … to advance the private interests of … others.” TEX. CODE JUD. CONDUCT, Canon 2B (emphasis added). Even to a casual observer of any of Justice Hecht’s 120 some-odd interviews made the subject of the admonition, the purpose and content of his advocacy of Ms. Miers’ nomination to the United States Supreme Court was to advance the public interest, as he saw it, at stake in any High Court nomination. The second canon upon which the Commission based its admonition mandates that “[a] judge … shall not authorize the public use of his or her name endorsing another candidate for any public office.” TEX. CODE JUD. CONDUCT, Canon 5(2) (emphasis added). As even Webster’s plainly explains a “candidate” is one seeks election to an office, a “nominee” is one who has been appointed or nominated to an office. This distinction carries great weight in Texas because we elect our judiciary, as opposed to the federal bench, where justices are nominated.