Statement on Don Willett
For immediate release
Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett is being nominated for a spot on the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Texas Watch Executive Director Ware Wendell released the following statement:
"Don Willett has proven himself to be an activist judge whose radical view of the world privileges profit over public safety. His writing demonstrates a desire to shred protections under a misinterpretation of 'liberty' that is distorted beyond all recognition. Freedom, of course, shouldn't mean you are free to hurt other people. But in Justice Willett's world, commercial interests are given more free rein to do what they want, to whomever they want, no matter the consequences in the real world for you and me."
Justice Don Willett's concurrence in Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which effectively threatens a return to the unregulated and dangerous Lochner era, and his majority opinion in Waffle House v. Williams, which disadvantaged sexual harassment and assault survivors, are two leading examples of his broad and extreme jurisprudence. See the dissents in these respective cases here and here. Also see Justice Willett's original opinion in Entergy v. Summers, which created a "statutory employer" shield for premises owners, foreclosing important legal remedies for injured workers. This brief submitted in opposition by a bipartisan collection of leading lawmakers is of note. It expresses dismay with Justice Willett's opinion in that it represented a violation of the separation of powers.
Texas Watch, a 501(c)(4) that works to protect the public and ensure accountability through our civil justice system, and the Texas Watch Foundation, a 501(c)(3), have tracked the Supreme Court of Texas through the years. In this time, the Court has become increasingly hostile to the rights of workers and the public.