Senate Confirms Pro-Life Appeals Court Nominee Don Willett to Federal Appeals Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 14, 2017   |   7:01PM   |   Washington, DC

The Senate voted today to confirm Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Conservative groups strongly supported his nomination.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination on an 11-9 vote last week and today the full Senate approved his nomination 50-47.

Democrats lack the numbers to block any of President Donald Trump’s judges now that the Senate operates under the rules pro-abortion Senate Leader Harry Reid created in 2013 to require a simple majority rather than 60 votes to confirm.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Ted Cruz, both pro-life, suggested Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to President Donald Trump, who nominated the jurist in September.

“Through his principled service on the Texas Supreme Court, Justice Willett has proven his devotion to justice and the rule of law,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I am proud to have recommended him to the White House for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and I have no doubt he will continue to serve Texas and the nation well.”

Willett understans the importance of federal appeals courts.

“The Supreme Court grabs the spotlight, but it hears fewer than 100 cases a year,” Willett said, “while the 13 federal courts of appeals handle about 35,000.”

Willett currently serves as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court. He was appointed to that court by Governor Perry in 2005, and was then elected to that position by the people of Texas in 2006 and 2012. Before assuming judicial office, Justice Willett held several other positions of public service. From 2003 to 2005, he was a Deputy Attorney General and chief legal counsel to the Attorney General of Texas, and before that, was Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Previously, Justice Willett served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Law & Policy in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. From 1996 to 2000, Justice Willett was Director of Research & Special Projects for Governor Bush.

Justice Willett is a member of the American Law Institute and recently served as editor-in-chief of Judicature—The Scholarly Journal for Judges. He earned a B.B.A. from Baylor University, and then three degrees from Duke University: J.D. with honors, M.A. in political science, and LL.M. in Judicial Studies.

Incredibly, Willett recently saved someone’s life at Chik-fil-A and talked about the value of human life.

From the American-Statesman:

“I was hunched over my MacBook, munching some Chick-fil-A chicken strips while discussing errands with my wife on my cell,” Willett recounted in an email to the American-Statesman.

“Suddenly, a nearby customer rushed to the booth in front of me and started performing the Heimlich maneuver on a dad who was dining with his young daughter. I hung up on my wife (first time in 21 years!) and jumped up.

“The quick-acting Good Samaritan, Herson De La Garza, a middle school band director, had given three or four upward abdominal thrusts, but the man was still choking. Herson stepped aside, and I gave a quick thrust or two, dislodging the nugget and clearing the airway.

“Herson was first on the scene and deserves enormous praise. I’m writing a letter to the superintendent recounting Herson’s Heimlich heroism. This all happened in the blink of an eye. I implore everyone to get trained on the Heimlich, CPR, and other basic life-saving skills. I squeezed my wife and three wee Willetts a little tighter tonight, and we prayed for this man’s dear family. Life is precious — and fleeting.”