Supreme Court

Trump Nominates Libertarian-Minded Texas Justice Don Willett to U.S. Appellate Court

Willett picked to fill vacancy on U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

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Texas Supreme Court

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett has just been called up to the big leagues.

As Peggy Fikac of Express News reports, President Donald Trump will nominate Willett to fill one of two vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, the federal appellate court whose jurisdiction covers federal districts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Willett, who appeared on Trump's 2016 list of potential U.S. Supreme Court candidates, is a rising star in conservative and libertarian legal circles and a popular presence on Twitter. If he is successfully confirmed to the 5th Circuit, Willett would immediately rank as one of the most libertarian federal judges in the country.

Willett is best-known for his aggressive judicial stance in favor of individual rights and economic liberty. In the 2015 case of Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, for example, Willett lambasted state officials for requiring eyebrow threaders to obtain a costly government license before engaging in the harmless act of threading cotton string through customers' eyebrows in order to remove old hair and skin.

"This case is fundamentally about the American Dream and the unalienable human right to pursue happiness without curtsying to government on bended knee," he wrote. "It is about whether government can connive with rent-seeking factions to ration liberty unrestrained, and whether judges must submissively uphold even the most risible encroachments."

In Willett's view, both the U.S. Constitution and its Texas counterpart contain judicially enforceable protections for "the right to earn a living free from unreasonable government intrusion." In the interests of full disclosure, I should also note that Willett's Patel opinion favorably cites my 2014 book Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Willett has been equally outspoken when it comes to government malfeasance in the criminal justice realm. When the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear the 2014 asset forfeiture case Zaher El-Ali v. Texas, for instance, Willett filed a sharp and memorable dissent. "Does our Constitution have anything to say about a 'presumed guilty' proceeding in which citizens are not arrested or tried, much less convicted, but are nonetheless punished, losing everything they've worked for?" he complained.

The Trump administration deserves credit for this pick. Willett is a superb jurist and he will make an excellent addition to the 5th Circuit.

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31 responses to “Trump Nominates Libertarian-Minded Texas Justice Don Willett to U.S. Appellate Court

  1. Chaotic Neutral governance does sometimes shake loose a nugget of good. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

    1. I wouldn’t mind receiving total consciousness on my deathbed either.

    2. If he had a D after his name you’d be either gloating like a motherfucker or shitting your pants like a bitch.

  2. Trump’s greatest moves are the people he nominates.

    1. Except for most cabinet picks.

      1. Trump’s cabinet picks were solid. Measure them against any other president’s in the last 85 years and try to tell me otherwise.

        1. I agree. With the exception of Sessions, they’ve been pretty solid.

          1. The AG is always an asshole. Can you name one who wasn’t?

            1. Let’s see:

              Edwin Meese? No.

              Janet Reno? No.

              Eric Holder? [Just kidding]

              Lorretta Lynch? No

              John Ashcroft? No

              Alberto Gonzales? No

              You’re right: they are ALL assholes

              1. State att’y gen’ls are often even more assholish.

            2. Just ask Erle Stanley Gardner.

        2. Otherwise. What a fucking moron you are.

  3. Nice nomination. I’ve followed Willets for a while and think he will be great as an appellate judge, and with that experience, a possible nominee for SCOTUS.

    1. Can you just imagine, if the Ginsberger doesn’t wake up from her next nap, or Kennedy retires? That will set off the left like nothing else.

  4. Imagine how much Welch, Gillespie, and the rest of the gang are grinding their teeth in rage right now thinking about how tough it’s going to be to put the most negative possible spin on one of his best decisions yet.

    1. Well, at least Damon acknowledges that it appears to be a good pick.

      BTW, just a little nitpick: being on the Texas Supreme Court is the big leagues. In fact, I would rather be on the supreme court of a state (aside from NY where the supreme court is a trial court) than on a federal court of appeals.

      1. Indeed, Mr. Root has long struck me as being one of the few reasonable and honest people left here.

  5. Willett, who appeared on Trump’s 2016 list of potential U.S. Supreme Court candidates, is a rising star in conservative and libertarian legal circles and a popular presence on Twitter.

    He’s also a pretty good golfer. He won the 2016 Master’s tournament… oh wait, that was Danny Willett. Nevermind.

    Willett has been equally outspoken when it comes to government malfeasance in the criminal justice realm. When the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear the 2014 asset forfeiture case Zaher El-Ali v. Texas, for instance, Willett filed a sharp and memorable dissent. “Does our Constitution have anything to say about a ‘presumed guilty’ proceeding in which citizens are not arrested or tried, much less convicted, but are nonetheless punished, losing everything they’ve worked for?” he complained.

    Interesting choice given Trump’s feelings about civil asset forfeiture. I hope nobody tells him about Willett’s views on the subject.

    1. I’m pretty sure Trump cares more about the fact that Willett is better at Twitter than he is.

      1. Trump’s consigned Willett to study up on a whole docket of new precedents, eating into his time of competing with the President on Twitter!

  6. “This case is fundamentally about the American Dream and the unalienable human right to pursue happiness without curtsying to government on bended knee,” he wrote. “It is about whether government can connive with rent-seeking factions to ration liberty unrestrained, and whether judges must submissively uphold even the most risible encroachments.”

    I missed the citation of law, constitution, or precedent in this little speech.

    1. Missed a lot else too.

      1. Legislating from the bench is OK if they agree with you?

    2. Tony disagrees with everything in those 2 sentences, thus affirming he is a Slaver (fuck off).
      How lonely does a Slaver have to be to constantly visit this website?

      1. Yea, holy shit. Progressives LOVE black people, till they start acting all uppity.

    3. “I missed the citation of law, constitution, or precedent in this little speech.”

      Hey, dipshit, you clearly ignored his reference to the “unalienable human right to pursue happiness”, which is what the Constitution was drafted to prevent government from interfering with, making it the cornerstone of American law, and which the precedent for is the fucking American Revolution.

      You are the problem with democracy.

  7. Thank you, President Trump.

  8. Bullshit. I bet any amount of money he’s a social conservative.

  9. Trump Nominates Libertarian-Minded Texas Justice Don Willett to U.S. Appellate Court – Hit & Run : Reason.comis the best post by imo for pc Please visit imo app imo app snaptube for pc snaptube app

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