Earlier this week, I posted a short retort to the Austin American Statesman‘s condemnation of Justice Nathan Hecht‘s fundraising to pay the legal fees he incurred in defending himself against an admonition later found to be unconstitutional and silly to boot.


Partners at BigTex firms in this state (where the majority of sitting SCOTX Justices have begun their practices) routinely make anywhere from $400k to $2.5 M per year. Counting the new raise SCOTX Justices just received in 2005, they now make $150k per year, a full $10k less than their clerks do as soon as they walk out of the Tom C. Clark building.

How on Earth could a few thousand or even a few million in campaign donations (which must be reported and can’t be spent on personal expenses without risking imprisonment and disbarment) be even slightly corrupting to someone who could make that much and more in the private sector without any of the ethics reporting requirements or public scrutiny?

The sheer ignorance of some like Texas Watch or Texans for Public Justice of the personal financial sacrifice imposed by choosing to sit on the bench instead of in a firm office is glaring. Anyone so easily corrupted by money would never choose to walk away from the private sector in order to someday “pay back” donors with favorable decisions, all for a relative pittance in compensation.

Agree that the system is not ideal in a myriad of ways, and subjects our judges to the appearance of impropriety, but the reality of the financial gaps between public service and private employment is now so huge, that to argue someone runs for a seat on the appellate bench for the money is laughable.

Thx to our Texas judiciary