Robert Junell

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Robert Junell
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #6
Station:   Midland-Odessa, TX
Service:
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   02/12/2003 - Present
Preceded by:   Hipolito Garcia
Personal History
Born:   1947
Hometown:   El Paso, TX
Undergraduate:   Texas Tech U., B.S., 1969
Law School:   Texas Tech U. Law, J.D., 1976
Grad. School:   U. of Arkansas, M.S., 1974
Military service:   U.S. Army 1969 - 1980



Robert Junell is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. He joined the court in 2003 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.[1] Junell plans to transition to senior status on February 13, 2015.[2]

Early life and education

A native of Texas, Junell graduated from New Mexico Military Institute with a bachelor's degree in 1967 and from Texas Tech University in Lubbock with his bachelor's degree in 1969 and his Juris Doctor degree in 1976. Junell also graduated from the University of Arkansas with his master's degree in 1974. Junell served in the US Army on Active Duty from 1970 to 1973 before serving seven years on reserve duty until 1980.[1]

Professional career

Junell spent his entire pre-judicial legal career as a private practice attorney with the firm Jackson Walker LLP, licensed in the State of Texas from 1977 to 2003.[1]

Judicial career

Western District of Texas

On the unanimous recommendation of Texas U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn, Junell was nominated by President George W. Bush on January 7, 2003 to a seat vacated by Hipolito Garcia as Garcia died in judicial service.[3] Junell was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 10, 2003 on a uncontested senate of 91-0.[4] Junell received commission on February 12, 2003.[1]

Notable cases

TOMA case (2011)

  United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
     *Asgeirsson v. Abbott No. 11-50441
The case, heard by US District Judge Robert Junell on March 25, 2011, was brought by council members from twelve Texas cities – with the City of Alpine leading the challenge. This is the second time Judge Junell has upheld the constitutionality of the Open Meetings Act against a challenge from Apline council members in recent years.

Challengers to the Act not only feel that it inhibits First Amendment rights to free speech but that it is also “vague and confusing.”[5] Arlington Council member Mel LeBlanc explained: "As an elected public official, I am constantly in meetings where the issue of [the act] comes up, and nearly every time, each individual in the meeting has his own interpretation of this law. Thus we defer to city legal counsel for advice, only to be told that the answer is not clear.”[5]

Ultimately Junell ruled that the Open Meetings Act will stand. Junell wrote in his decision that "Open meetings enable public discussion and discourage government secrecy and fraud."[6] He went on to state "Governmental bodies have no First Amendment right to conduct public business behind closed doors. TOMA ensures that governmental bodies perform their duty, which is informing Texas citizens about public affairs."[7]

Junell ruled in favor of TOMA in a similar case brought by the same parties in 2006. The decision was appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which dismissed the case in 2009 stating the case had lost its relevance because the challengers were no longer public officials.[8] The challengers vowed to appeal again.[9] The Supreme Court of the United States denied the petition for writ of certiorari thus ending the case.[10]


See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Hipolito Garcia
Western District of Texas
2003–Current
Seat #6
Succeeded by:
NA


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