September 12, 2008
Endorsement watch: DMN for Sam Houston

The Dallas Morning News, which has been the early bird of endorsements these past few seasons, makes its recommendations for the State Supreme Court, picking Democrat Sam Houston for Place 7.

Democratic challenger Sam Houston has built solid reputation defending clients against lawsuits and would bring some new ideas to the court. He argues that no one likes lawsuits, but sometimes they are necessary to ensure justice, and that justice is good for business. Mr. Houston, 45, would bring some welcome - and not token - philosophical diversity to the court.

The incumbent in this race says all the right things about being fair and balanced, but Republican Dale Wainwright does not adequately answer criticism about his work ethic. In the last full year statistics were available, for example, he wrote just four signed opinions - the second fewest of any justice on the court and the lowest among the three justices seeking re-election this year. Two of his most recent opinions date to cases heard in 2004.

Justice Wainwright, 47, says there are complex reasons for this, but lives are often on hold waiting for these opinions, and such delays are unacceptable. Justice Wainwright, previously a district judge in Harris County, has a sharp resume, but voters should send a message to the court that long backlogs will not be tolerated by electing the respected and fresh-thinking Mr. Houston.

I feel pretty confident that the Democratic slate for Supreme Court will get at least one endorsement from most of the newspapers, with Houston and/or Linda Yanez leading the way. Judge Jim Jordan, for whom the DMN had some nice things to say, probably won't do as well against Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson. But you never know.

This reminds me that it's about time to make predictions about who the Chron will be endorsing when they get around to it. I'll have more on that soon.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 12, 2008 to Election 2008
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