Don Willett

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Don Willett
Court Information:
Texas Supreme Court
Title:   Justice
Position:   Place 2
Salary:  $168,000
Appointed by:   Gov. Rick Perry
Active:   2005-2018
Past post:   Deputy attorney general
Past term:   2003-2005
Personal History
Born:   7/16/1966
Party:   Republican
Undergraduate:   Baylor University, 1988
Law School:   Duke University, 1992
Candidate 2012:
Candidate for:  Supreme Court
State:  Texas
Election information 2012:
Incumbent:  Yes
Primary date:  May 29, 2012
Primary vote:  57.7%ApprovedA
Election date:  November 6, 2012
Election vote:  78.8%ApprovedA

Don R. Willett is a justice of the Texas Supreme Court, in Place 2. He was appointed to this position by Governor Rick Perry and took office on August 24, 2005. His current term will expire in 2018.[1]


Willett received his BBA from Baylor University in 1988 and his A.M. and J.D. from Duke University in 1992.[1]


After graduating from law school, Willett clerked for Judge Jerre Williams in the Fifth Circuit. In 1996, he joined former Governor George W. Bush's administration, as the director of Research & Special Projects. He also worked with the Bush-Cheney 2000 Presidential Campaign and Transition Team. From there, he was a deputy attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice, but he left to join Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's office in 2003, where he worked until his appointment to the Texas Supreme Court in 2005.[1]

On Twitter

Willett is an avid user of Twitter, according to a September 2014 profile in the New York Times; they wrote:

"To judge by his Twitter feed, Don Willett seems like an all-around solid guy: native Texan, proud conservative, three charming kids, loves Blue Bell ice cream and Baylor football, skilled at selfies, and not above the occasional lowbrow joke...Since joining Twitter in 2009, Justice Willett, who is 48, has written more than 12,800 tweets. That doesn’t put him anywhere near the most prolific Twitter users, but, by his own reckoning, it does make him 'probably the most avid judicial tweeter in America — which is like being the tallest munchkin in Oz.'"[2]



Willett defeated Libertarian Robert Stuart Koelsch in the general election on November 6, 2012, with 78.8 percent of the vote.[3]

Willett defeated Steven W. Smith in the Republican primary on May 29, winning 57.7 percent of the vote.[4][5][6]

See also: Texas judicial elections, 2012


  • Young Conservatives of Texas[7]

Campaign ads

In 2012 Don Willett spent $1,167,930 on primary TV ads.[8]

Don Willett's 2012 campaign ad


Willett was elected to his seat on November 7, 2006. He narrowly defeated William Moody and Wade Wilson, winning 51.04 percent of the vote.[9]

Notable cases

Willett's first majority opinion was Willis v. Donnelly, which was released on June 2, 2006. Willett wrote for a unanimous court in a case dealing with shareholder liability in close corporations.[10]

Conservative record

According to the endorsement of the Young Conservatives of Texas:

Justice Willett has earned consensus support from every corner of the conservative movement: pro-life, pro-faith, pro-family, pro-liberty, pro-gun rights, pro-law enforcement, pro-private property, and pro-limited government.[7]

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Willett received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of 0.97, indicating a conservative ideological leaning. This is more conservative than the average CF score of 0.91 that justices received in Texas. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[11]

See also

External links


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