Texan Don Willett under consideration for Supreme Court nomination
Say howdy to "probably the tweetingest judge in America, which, admittedly, is like being the tallest Munchkin in Oz." That's how Texas native Judge Don Willett describes himself on -- what else -- Twitter.There are more examples of Willet's humor in the piece at the link above. Willet is highly regarded in Texas. I think he would make a good Supreme Court Justice.
His social media meditations on hamburger buns, legal precedent, and even Donald Trump, have gained him an unusually high public profile, and perhaps because of this -- or more likely in spite of -- he's become a White House favorite to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.
The 52-year-old resident of Austin sits on the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, having been nominated to the post last year by President Trump after service on the state’s high court. He is one of 24 judges -- and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, -- on a list Trump has promised to rely to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy.
Willett was among seven finalists last year for the seat that ultimately went to Justice Neil Gorsuch. Sources say he was invited to Washington in January 2017 and met with members of the Trump team, including soon-to-be Vice President Mike Pence.
The judge brings a colorful past -- he's a onetime rodeo rider, among other things -- with a creatively conservative jurisprudence. That consistent right-leaning record is what has attracted the White House's notice.
Soon after his interview for the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Willett was nominated to the federal bench. Sources say experience handling federal appeals would better prepare Willett for a Supreme Court seat, if so nominated.
He quotes Scripture, comic books, even Fox News. On Twitter, Willett linked to a 2014 story from this website -- about a transgender high school student being allowed to join the girls' softball team. It promoted this bit of Willett whimsy: "Go away A-Rod," referring to former baseball star Alex Rodriguez, who had been suspended from the game for admitting to steroid use.
Most famous, or infamous, are Willett's posts on then-candidate Trump. "'We'll rebuild the Death Star. It'll be amazing, believe me. And the rebels will pay for it.' —Darth Trump," Willett tweeted in April 2016, with an accompanying photo of the "Star War" movie's space weapon.
Donny Ray Willett was born in tiny Talty, Texas (population 1,535) and was raised by a single mother who worked as a truck stop waitress. After law school, he eventually found his way to then-Gov. George W. Bush's office, and later the Bush Justice Department, and White House as an adviser on religious-liberty issues.
Growing weary of Washington, Willett headed back home; he was eventually named to the Texas Supreme Court, and re-elected to the position in 2006 and 2012.