Jeffrey S. Boyd

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Jeffrey S. Boyd
Jeffrey Boyd.jpg
Court Information:
Texas Supreme Court
Title:   Justice
Position:   Place 7
Salary:  $168,000
Appointed by:   Gov. Rick Perry
Active:   2012-2020
Preceded by:   Dale Wainwright
Past post:   Chief of staff/General counsel, Governor Rick Perry
Past term:   2011-2012
Past post 2:   Thompson & Knight LLP
Past term 2:   1992-2000, 2003-2010
Personal History
Born:   1961
Party:   Republican
Undergraduate:   Abilene Christian University, 1983
Law School:   Pepperdine University, 1991
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  Texas Supreme Court
Position:  Place 7
State:  Texas
Election information 2014:
Incumbent:  Yes
Primary date:  3/4/2014
Primary vote:  100%ApprovedA
Election date:  11/4/2014
Election vote:  58.9%ApprovedA

Justice Jeffrey Boyd Investiture (speech at 2:00)

Jeffrey S. Boyd is a justice on the Texas Supreme Court (Place 7). He was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to replace Dale Wainwright, who resigned in September 2012. Boyd joined the court on December 3, 2012. He is currently serving out the remainder of Wainwright's term, which expires at the end of 2014.[1]

He was re-elected on November 4, 2014, for a term that begins on January 1, 2020, and will expire on December 31, 2018.[2][3] Currently, every seat on the Texas Supreme Court is held by a Republican. All judges in Texas are elected in partisan elections and must be re-elected when their terms expire. Justices on the supreme court serve six-year terms.



See also: Texas Supreme Court elections, 2014
See also: Texas judicial elections, 2014
Boyd ran for re-election to the Texas Supreme Court.
Primary: He ran unopposed in the Republican primary on March 4, 2014.
General: He defeated Gina Benavides, a Democrat, Don Fulton, a Libertarian, and Charles E. Waterbury, a Green Party candidate, in the general election on November 4, 2014, receiving 58.9 percent of the vote.[3][4][5]
Benavides currently serves on Texas Thirteenth District Court of Appeals. Before being elected to that court, she was an attorney for over 18 years.[6] Fulton is an attorney. He is running in his first election.[7] Waterbury ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the supreme court in 2012.[8]

Judicial poll

Below are the results of the 2014 judicial poll, conducted by the State Bar of Texas, which asked attorneys to cast a vote in favor of their preferred candidate in each appellate race.[9]

Place 7 Justice
Candidate: Votes:
Gina Benavides 4039
Jeffrey S. Boyd 3435
Don Fulton 1207
Charles E. Waterbury 533


Based upon the money spent by candidates running for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court in 2012, experts anticipate 2014's judicial races will continue to be costly. Boyd's colleague on the supreme court, Justice Don Willett, raised $1.7 million for the primary and won re-election in November 2012.[10] Groups with a vested interest in the decisions made by the supreme court are expected to continue to inject large amounts of money into these races.

See also: JP Election Brief: Money and controversies

A political action committee (PAC) has been set up to take in donations to support Boyd's campaign. As of July 15, 2013, Texans for Jeff Boyd collected $415,292 in total contributions.[11] According to Boyd's website, by November 12, 2013, his campaign received close to $600,000 in total contributions.[12]

Campaign contributors

Boyd's campaign took in donations from parties on both sides of the Texas political divide. He received $25,000 from the Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) political action committee[11], a possible indication that TLR believes Boyd might be just the type of pro-business, judicially conservative sort of judge they appear to favor. However, plaintiff's lawyer Mark Lanier and his firm, Lanier Law Firm PC, also made contributions to Boyd's campaign totaling $10,000.[11][13]

Plaintiff's lawyers and firms

In addition to Lanier, Boyd has received contributions from several other Texas plaintiff's lawyers and litigation firms, including: Frank Branson, Gilbert "Buddy" Low, Tony Buzbee, past Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA) President Mike Gallagher, Richard Mithoff, Susman Godfrey, Walter Umphrey and Wayne Reaud.[11]

Defense lawyers and firms

Donations Boyd has received from defense firms and defense lawyers, include: Andrews & Kurth Texas PAC, Norton Rose Fulbright, Haynes & Boone, Bracewell & Guliani, Baker Botts Amicus Fund, K & L Gates Committee for Good Government, Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell, Beck, Redden & Secrest LLP, Gibbs & Bruns LLP, Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons LLP, DLA Piper and Akin Gump, Baker & Hostetler LLC.[11]

Businesses and business groups

In addition, several business PACs and individuals have donated to Boyd's campaign: AT&T PAC, BNSF RAILPAC, the USAA Employee PAC and the late founder of Perry Homes, Bob Perry.[11]


As of February 2014, the following groups are also endorsing Boyd's campaign for re-election:

  • Texas Hospital Associations PAC[14]
  • Texas Restaurant Association[15]
  • Texas Right to Life[16]

Boyd has also received support from the Texas Civil Justice League (TCJL), described on their website as, ". . .a bipartisan organization that strongly supports a judiciary that is impartial, qualified and knowledgeable about the law and the constitution of [Texas]."[17] The group offers information about the Texas judicial system and upcoming judicial elections. The group's political action committee, (TCJL PAC), has recommended that all the incumbents running for re-election to the state supreme court be re-elected, including Boyd.[18]


Boyd earned an undergraduate degree in biblical studies, graduating cum laude, from Abilene Christian University in 1983.[19] He earned his J.D., graduating summa cum laude, from Pepperdine University in 1991.[20][21]


Awards and associations


  • 2006-2010: Texas Super Lawyer
  • 2004: Texas Super Lawyer, government practice[20]


  • 2012-2013: Past president, Robert W. Calvert Inn, American Inns of Court
  • 2007-2010: Former chair and director, Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries of Central Texas
  • 2003-Present: Member, Supreme Court Advisory Committee
  • 1994-2000: Former board member, Brentwood Christian School Board
  • Member, Brentwood Oaks Church
  • Former president and director, Board of Directors for Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas
  • Former director, Board of Directors, Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas[20][19]

Judicial experience

At the time of Boyd's appointment, in 2012, his lack of judicial experience caused some to accuse Perry of cronyism. Paul Burka, a columnist at Texas Monthly, maintained that Boyd's appointment was ". . .cronyism, pure and simple. . .[Boyd] has one of the skimpiest resumes I have ever seen for a high judicial appointment."[23]

Boyd's elevation to the state's highest civil court was the second time Gov. Perry appointed one of his staffers to the court. Perry appointed David M. Medina, who had briefly served as Perry's general counsel, to the court in November 2004. Medina failed to win re-election in 2012.[24]

From 2000 to 2013, Perry appointed ten justices to the supreme court. Seven of the nine justices serving on the court as of early 2014 were appointed by Perry.[24] Two of these Perry-appointed justices, Willett and Boyd, did not have judicial experience prior to their appointments. In his November 2012 announcement of Boyd's appointment, Gov. Perry noted:

'Jeff is a highly-respected attorney who has consistently excelled throughout his years of private practice, his terms of public service, and his leadership of important charitable organizations. His addition to the court will continue to protect the rule of law and further the tradition of defending the freedoms that Texans so vigorously uphold. . .He has earned my confidence, and the confidence of those he has worked with in all his endeavors, because he has a brilliant legal mind, he is committed to preserving the rule of law, and he strives every day to live a life of fairness, integrity and compassion. I know he will bring this same commitment to the Texas Supreme Court, and we will all be better for it.'[25][26]

Judicial philosophy

A quote from Boyd on his campaign website sums up his judicial philosophy:

Since joining the [c]ourt a year ago, I have remained committed to justly interpreting and upholding our constitution and laws, rather than legislating from the bench to support any personal preferences. . . I believe this is what Texans expect from their judges, and I hope to earn the right to continue serving as a member of our state’s highest civil court.[27][26]

Since judges on all of the courts in Texas are chosen in popular elections, and often receive campaign contributions from lawyers who bring cases before them in court, the judicial philosophy of judges in the state is an important concern. The roots of the current political divide in the Texas legal community reach back to the 1980's. People who were injured in a car accident, or a slip and fall accident in a store, began asking trial attorneys to file lawsuits to help them get money to pay their medical bills and other expenses. These attorneys sued individuals, businesses and doctors. Insurance companies were forced to pay the settlements and jury awards, which could sometimes cost millions.

Trial attorneys began making donations to Texas Supreme Court candidates, who were mostly Democrats at the time. As a result, rulings by the court which had previously favored businesses and corporations in the state began to change. It became easier to bring a lawsuit to court and have a jury trial. During the 1980's, costs for insurance increased, while large settlements and jury awards paid to plaintiffs made headlines. A 1987 report by the television news show, 60 Minutes, "Justice for Sale?," marked a turning point, with several justices being voted out of office the following year.

However when the show looked at the court several years later, in 1998, reporters found that "[i]nstead of plaintiffs' lawyers wielding power over justices. . .business interests and insurance companies were now the most influential."[28] Groups like Texans for Lawsuit Reform lobbied the legislature to enact tort reform. In 1995, legislation was enacted to make it more difficult to sue an individual, doctor or business. It also became more difficult to get a jury trial and a cap was placed on the amount of damages plaintiffs could collect. Punitive damages in particular were capped; these had played a role in boosting jury awards. By 1999, there were no longer any Democratic justices sitting on the Texas Supreme Court.[29]

A February 2013 article in the Dallas News attempted to offer some insight regarding Boyd's judicial philosophy. Mike Hatchell, a partner at the Texas law firm of Locke Lord, who has observed the Texas Supreme Court over several decades, told the Dallas News the current supreme court "is split between justices who are conservative and those who are very conservative".[30]

An article in The Nation discussed Governor Rick Perry's pro-business leanings. The article quoted former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, who described Perry as an "exuberant corporate Republican".[31] Since Boyd was appointed by Perry, and served as his chief of staff and general counsel, some assume Boyd will take a similar pro-business stance when ruling on cases.

However, others, such as Deborah Hankinson, a former Texas Supreme Court justice and the federal judge Boyd clerked for after law school, Thomas Reavley, expect Boyd to be a more moderate voice on the court. According to Reavley,

. . .he believes Boyd shares his view that the recent steep decline in the number of jury trials due to tort reform and other reasons is unhealthy.[30][26]
According to a plaintiffs' lawyer and former president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Mike Gallagher, who has worked with Boyd in the past, Boyd has "a deep commitment to doing the right thing".[30]

Although Boyd declines to define himself, or his philosophy, according to the Dallas News,

. . .he believes judges should respect the role juries play and. . .is concerned about the declining number of jury trials.[30][26]



Various attorney groups publish ratings for judges around the state, including supreme court justices. Members of the Houston Bar Association were asked to provide ratings, which were published in December 2013. Boyd received the following ratings:

  • Excellent=33%
  • Above average=24%
  • Average=22%
  • Below average=11%
  • Needs improvement=10%[32]

Caseload statistics

During the court's 2013 fiscal year (which ended on August 31, 2013), each justice on the supreme court wrote an average of just over 11 opinions. Boyd sat on the court for approximately nine months and during this time, he wrote 11 opinions, including one majority opinion. (The average for all justices was 5.34.)[33]

Notable cases

Phillips v. Bramlett

In the first majority opinion Boyd wrote, he noted that the court found the interest owing in a case, after a previous successful appeal, should have been calculated from the date the judgement was first determined. The court also found that after the supreme court returned the case to the trial court, the lower court still technically had jurisdiction over the matter. However, the trial court was obligated to take the actions specified by the high court.[34]

As of February 2014 (five months into the court's 2014 fiscal year), Boyd has written two majority opinions.

Coinmach v. Aspenwood Corp.

Boyd wrote a unanimous opinion on an issue involving landlord tenant law in the state. The court clarified when a landlord can sue a tenant who refuses to vacate the premises after their lease has expired.[35]

Railroad utilities

Texas Coast Utilities Coalition v. Railroad Commission of Texas, et al.
In this case, Boyd authored another unanimous opinion, holding that Texas law allows the state's Railroad Commission to approve a utility rate schedule that permits automatic adjustments based on the changing costs to provide the service.[36][37]

See also

External links


  1., "Perry names chief of staff to Supreme Court," November 26, 2012
  2., “Judicial selection in Texas,” accessed November 21, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 Texas Secretary of State, "2014 March Primary Election Candidate Filings by County (A-L)"
  4. Texas Secretary of State, "2014 March Primary Election Candidate Filings by County (M-Z)"
  5. Texas Secretary of State, "Republican Party Primary Election, Unofficial Results," 2014
  6. Texas Democrats, "Our Strongest Slate of Judicial Candidates in Memory," January 14, 2014
  7. The Libertarian Party of Texas, "Candidates," accessed January 22, 2014
  8. Texas Ethics Commission, "Candidate Report: Charles E. Waterbury," January 7, 2014, accessed February 10, 2014
  9. State Bar of Texas "Judicial Poll results," 2014
  10. Center for American Progress, "The Million Dollar Judges of 2012," January 15, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 The Texas Tribune, "Texans for Jeff Boyd," accessed January 22, 2014
  12., "News, Justice Jeff Boyd Files for Election to Texas Supreme Court," November 12, 2013
  13. Texas Ethics Commission, "Texans for Jeff Boyd, January Semi-Annual Report," January 15, 2014
  14. Texas Hospital Association, "Texas Hospital Association PAC Campaign Endorsements," January 21, 2014
  15. The Texas Restaurant Association Blog, "Primary election features several hotly contested races," February 4, 2014
  16. Texas Right to Life, "Texas Right to Life begins 2014 endorsement process," November 4, 2013
  17. Texas Judges, "Homepage," accessed February 10, 2014
  18. Texas Civil Justice League, "TCJL PAC Endorsements and Press," accessed February 10, 2014
  19. 19.0 19.1 Facebook, "Justice Jeff Boyd, About," accessed January 21, 2014
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 The Supreme Court of Texas, "Justices, Justice Jeffrey S. Boyd," accessed January 20, 2014
  21. State Bar of Texas, "Find a Lawyer, Mr. Jeffrey S. Boyd," accessed January 20, 2014
  22., "Meet Jeff Boyd," accessed January 20, 2014
  23. Texas Monthly, "Burkablog, Perry names chief of staff Boyd to TX Supreme Court," November 27, 2012, accessed February 10, 2014
  24. 24.0 24.1 The New York Times, "The Texas Tribune: Make It One More Supreme Court Justice From the Perry Camp," December 1, 2012, accessed January 23, 2014
  25. Office of Governor Rick Perry, "Gov. Perry appoints Boyd to the Supreme Court of Texas," November 26, 2012, accessed February 10, 2014
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  27. Justice Jeff Boyd Texas Supreme Court, "Justice Jeff Boyd Files For Election To Texas Supreme Court," November 12, 2013, accessed February 10, 2014
  28. Amarillo Globe-News, "@marillo Globe-News: News: CBS' '60 Minutes' revists the Texas Supreme Court 11/2/98," November 2, 1998, accessed February 13, 2014
  29. The Texas Tribune, "Can the Democrats win a Supreme Court Race?," April 12, 2010, accessed February 13, 2014
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 Dallas News, "Texas Supreme court justice's philosophy is topic of debate," February 27, 2013
  31. The Nation, "Conservative Criticism of Rick Perry's Corporate Cronyism," August 18, 2011, accessed February 13, 2014
  32. Houston Bar Association, "HBA 2013 Judicial Evaluation Results, Supreme Court of Texas," accessed February 10, 2014
  33. Texas Courts Online, "2013 Annual Report, Supreme Court Activity," accessed January 22, 2014
  34. The Supreme Court of Texas, "Phillips v. Bramlett (12-0257)," accessed February 6, 2014
  35. The Supreme Court of Texas, "Coinmach v. Aspenwood Corp. (11-0213)," November 22, 2013
  36. Texas Supreme Court, "Texas Coast Utilities Coalition v. Railroad Commission of Texas and Centerpoint Energy Resources Corp., No. 12-0102," January 14, 2014
  37. The Supreme Court of Texas Blog, "Opinions in four cases (Jan. 17, 2014)," January 17, 2014