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Gov. Greg Abbott picks Rebeca Huddle for Texas Supreme Court vacancy

Gov. Greg Abbott meets with local leaders in El Paso to discuss the novel coronavirus on Aug. 13, 2020. (Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune)
Gov. Greg Abbott meets with local leaders in El Paso to discuss the novel coronavirus on Aug. 13, 2020. (Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune)

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Rebeca Huddle is Gov. Greg Abbott’s pick to fill a vacancy on the Texas Supreme Court.

A former Republican justice on a Houston appeals court, Huddle grew up in El Paso and now works as a partner at Baker Botts in Houston.

Huddle called the appointment “a tremendous honor.” She pledged “even-handed, impartial, fair and respectful treatment for every litigant.”

“I’m so deeply honored to do the work that’s awaiting me at the Texas Supreme Court,” she said.

Huddle replaces Justice Paul Green, who retired in August, allowing Abbott to appoint a successor who will serve through the end of 2022. If Green had left just 10 days earlier, his replacement would have been up to Texas voters to select — a detail not lost on Texas Democrats, who accused Green of playing politics. Green told The Texas Tribune at the time that he was departing at the “end of the court term, simple as that.”

Abbott made the announcement Thursday at the El Paso high school where Huddle — and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor — studied.

The nine-justice court is entirely Republican. Four members, including Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, face reelection in November.

The court, Texas’ highest for civil matters, hears cases on everything from oil and gas royalties to plastic bag bans to election law disputes. The court recently upheld Abbott’s early voting timetable, and blocked Harris County from sending out an application for a mail-in ballot to all 2.4 million registered voters in the county.

“Her legal skills are absolutely extraordinary,” Abbott said Thursday. “She has a proven respect for the rule of law and for the role of the Constitution.”