Judeo-Christian values established a framework of morality which permitted our system of limited government.
Free enterprise and the right to private property are essential elements of a productive economic system.
Religious liberty is at risk in the United States and deserves the highest level of protection in the law.
The Ten Commandments should not be displayed in public school buildings or court houses.
George Washington's comment that “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society” is still true today.
The U.S. Constitution and my state constitution should be interpreted as living documents, rather than using a strict constructionist or originalist approach in judicial decisions.
There are times when American judges should alter U.S. case law in order to comply with foreign case law.
Islamic law (Sharia) should take precedence over national and state laws where there are Islamic majority communities in the U. S.
I voted in these primaries and general elections:
2010 General Election, 2010 Republican Primary, 2012 General Election, 2012 Republican Primary, 2014 General Election, 2014 Republican Primary, 2016 General Election, 2016 Republican Primary
What in the nature of mankind caused America’s Founders to carefully define, separate, and limit powers in the Constitution?
Mankind is fallen, and there will always be people who seek power at the expense of others. The separation of powers serves as a check on that.
Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values.
I am a Catholic: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, I believe in the Incarnation and Resurrection, I believe that the Bible is the revealed Word of God.
Which current U.S. Supreme Court justice best reflects your judicial philosophy?
Justice Clarence Thomas
Which U.S. president serving after 1960 best reflects your political philosophy?
What is the proper use of legislative history in interpreting statutory law?
In interpreting statutory law, a judge should consider the actual language of the statute because that is what the legislature voted on. Legislative history may be considered only if the statute is ambiguous.
What specific text in the Declaration of Independence provides the critical basis for individual rights and the form of government guaranteed in the United States Constitution?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges allowing members of the same sex to marry, which justice’s opinion in that case most closely approximates your understanding of marriage?
When you consider your views on a wide range of issues from economic and social matters to foreign policy and immigration, which of the following best describes you overall?
Please provide publicly available information validating your answer to the previous question.
My opinion for the Court in Ex parte James Richard "Rick" Perry, 483 S.W.3d 733 (Tex. Crim. App. 2016) My dissenting opinion Faust v. State, 491 S.W.3d 733 (Tex. Crim. App. 2015) My concurring opinion in Ex parte Medellin, 223 S.W.2d 515 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006)
What education or experience qualifies you to hold the office for which you seek election?
I've been on the Court since 1995, Presiding Judge since 2001. In the years that I have led the Court, it has become much more conservative. The Presiding Judge has two jobs: the legal work and managing the "business" side of the Court. We typically dispose of more matters each year than any other appellate court in the country. I carry the same caseload as the other judges, plus work with the legislature, work on budget and personnel issues, and work on many other such matters. We have five judges who have been on the Court less than four years, and we will have another new judge next year. The Presiding Judge should be someone who is familiar with Court processes and aware of the history of Court procedures. I have also served on many committees to help improve the criminal justice system, such as the Texas Indigent Defense Commission, of which I've been chair for 16 years. Finally, my knowledge of the law rests on 23 years of voting on cases in the court of last resort.
In what areas of law have you practiced?
Criminal appellate law for the past 30 years, as judge and, before that, assistant district attorney. When I first became a lawyer, I worked in a general practice, with both civil and criminal cases.
E-mail address and phone number for voters to reach you:
Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?
I ran for this Court in 1994 because I wanted the Court to be more conservative, more consistent, and more faithful to the law. I have led the Court in making that happen. I want to continue to serve on the Court because I want it to continue the good job it is now doing. I also think that even conservative judges sometimes fail to understand the importance of defending freedom of speech. My dissenting opinion in Faust v. State, mentioned above, is an example of a time I strongly disagreed with the majority of the Court on a First Amendment freedom of speech issue. In my view, Faust was arrested because of his attempt to express his religious beliefs while protesting at a parade.