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Endorsement watch: Still not wasting any time

The Chron makes a Civil Court endorsement, way ahead of when they normally do this sort of thing.


Harris County Civil Court at Law 1 doesn’t handle the big-money issues that are bread and butter for white-shoe law firms. But for the people who do come before that court, the cases can feel as important as a multi-million dollar suit. Low-level civil disputes, property condemnation cases and evictions and appeals from justice of the peace cases fill the docket for this mid-level court. People will often appear without lawyers and cases can mean the difference between homelessness and a roof over one’s head.

Judges need to be well-versed in the law, but also harbor a healthy compassion for the people who find themselves unprepared and ill-equipped to navigate the legal system. In his meeting with the Houston Chronicle editorial board, incumbent Judge Clyde R. Leuchtag demonstrated an impressive balance between these at-times conflicting drives.

“I feel strongly that I need to follow the law,” Leuchtag said. “But at the same time I think within the law I can help people who are underdogs make sure that they get their day in court.”


A graduate of Rice University and the South Texas College of Law, Leuchtag also had stints at the Baker Botts law firm and at Shell as a litigator. He exhibits the steady judicial temperament possessed by the best judges. No wonder that we only heard words of praise from his Democratic opponent, George Barnstone.

“If I wasn’t running in this race, I’d probably vote for Clyde,” he told the editorial board.

Barnstone is as amiable a candidate as we have seen, but he can’t match Leuchtag’s experience.

I understood why the Chron wasted no time endorsing Hillary Clinton for President. I’m less clear on why they felt the need to rush this one out the door. Maybe they’ve changed their interview process, in which case we’ll see more of these before we would normally expect them. Be that as it may, I’ll share that Judge Leuchtag was present at the Democratic precinct convention at which Rodney Ellis was formally nominated for Commissioners Court. He was handing out campaign literature – that event was obviously a good opportunity to do such a thing – though none of the materials he had identified him as a Republican. Which, given the event in question, I can understand. Give the man credit for creative opportunism.

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