1. Who are you, and what are you running for?
Evelyn Keyes, Justice, First Court of Appeals, Place 4; appointed May 2002 by Gov. Rick Perry, elected to remainder of predecessor’s term Nov. 2002, re-elected to 6 year term Nov. 2004; Republican nominee for re-election Nov. 2010.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
The First Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court between all trial courts—civil, criminal, family, and probate—and the Texas Supreme Court (civil cases) and Court of Criminal Appeals (criminal cases). We hear appeals from all trial courts in 10 Texas counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Waller, and Washington. Since we must take all appeals and the high courts have discretion to take only selected cases, most legal issues decided in state court in those 10 counties are finally decided in our court or our sister court, the 14th Court of Appeals with cases being randomly assigned between them.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I love serving the people of Texas and I think I have the knowledge, experience, temperament, dedication, and sense of justice necessary to decide cases that deeply affect people’s lives wisely and fairly.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
8 years as appellate justice; over 600 signed cases on the merits in all areas of law—civil, family, criminal, and probate; 14 years experience in trial and appellate complex civil litigation in federal and state court through United States Supreme Court level; law firm associate and partner and Special Assistant Attorney General to John Cornyn; author and speaker in law and legal philosophy; service to the legal profession as a member of the American Law Inst. project on government ethics advisory council, State Bar Rules Committee appellate subcommittee chair, Texas Center for the Judiciary Judicial Resources Committee member, former member University of Houston Law Center Alumni Board and Law Review Board, current member Judicial Internship Comm.; many years service on Houston Bar Association committees, including Bench/Bar Committee; service to the community as immediate past president Houston Philosophical Society and current chair of long-range planning committee; strong education with academic honors, including Houston Law Center J.D. with honors, Law Review Chief Articles Editor and distinguished service award; doctorates in Philosophy (Rice) and English (Texas); Woodrow Wilson Fellow; Sophie Newcomb College, Tulane University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa; wife and mother of four grown children; member St. John the Divine Episcopal Church.
5. Why is this race important?
It is critically important that the voters of Texas elect appellate judges who are experienced and knowledgeable in the law and have a record of service and commitment to the law and the people. The court of appeals decides the law in appeals from trial court decisions on matters that affect all of our lives, including divorces, child custody, property rights, contract disputes, wills and estates,personal injury, and crimes. The law needs to be decided by knowledgeable and impartial judges so that the opinions they write and the judgments they reach are sound and reliable and true to the Constitution and the law and the people the law protects.
6. Why should people vote for you in November?
I believe I have a sound record of judicial service and of commitment to the law and to legal institutions, and I can answer the tough questions in a way that will protect the rights of Texans. That is important to me, and I think it is important to all of us to be able to rest secure in the knowledge that the rule of law is being followed and that our justices are devoted to protecting our interests and keeping the law sound, reliable, and fair.