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Wallace Jefferson

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Wallace B. Jefferson
Current Court Information:
Texas Supreme Court
Title:   Former justice
Appointed by:   Gov. Rick Perry
Active:   2001-2013
Chief:   2004-2013
Personal History
Born:   July 22, 1963
Party:   Republican
Undergraduate:   Michigan State University
Law School:   University of Texas School of Law

Wallace B. Jefferson was a justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. He was appointed to the court by Governor Rick Perry in March of 2001, and he was elected on November 5, 2002. Jefferson became the court's chief justice in 2004 and served in that position until September 2013. He retired on October 1, 2013.[1][2][3][4]

Wallace was the first African-American chief justice in the history of Texas.[5]


Jefferson received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.[1]


After graduating from law school, Jefferson went into private practice. He became partner in 1991. He was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court in 2001.[6]

Awards and associations

  • 2012 Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award[7]
  • 1997 Outstanding Young Lawyer, San Antonio Lawyers Association
  • "Pillars of the Foundation" award, North Side Independent School District
  • 2010 President, Conference of Chief Justices
  • Chair, National Center for State Courts
  • 1998-99 President, San Antonio Bar Association
  • Former director, San Antonio Public Library Foundation
  • Former director, Alamo Area Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • Former member, Education committee, San Antonio Area Foundation[1]



Jefferson ran for re-election to the court on November 4, 2008 against Democratic challenger Jim Jordan, winning 53% of the vote. (See Texas Supreme Court elections for more information).[8]

For information on Justice Jefferson's campaign fundraising, visit: Follow the Money: Wallace Jefferson.

Candidate IncumbentSeatPartyElection %
Wallace Jefferson ApprovedA YesChief JusticeRepublican53.1%
Jim Jordan NoChief JusticeDemocratic43.7%
Tom Oxford NoChief JusticeLibertarian3.1%


Jefferson was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 2002. He defeated William E. Moody, winning 56.76% of the vote.[9]

In his 2002 campaign, Jefferson raised roughly $1.14 million.[10]

Notable cases

On Exorcisms

In a 6-3 vote, the Texas Supreme Court threw out a jury award over injuries a 17-year-old girl suffered in an exorcism conducted by members of her old church, ruling that the case unconstitutionally entangled the court in religious matters. The Supreme Court threw out the $188,000 that the Court of Appeals awarded. Justice David Medina wrote that finding the church liable "would have an unconstitutional 'chilling effect' by compelling the church to abandon core principles of its religious beliefs." But Jefferson, in a dissenting opinion, stated that the "sweeping immunity" is inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent and extends far beyond the Constitution's protections for religious conduct. "The First Amendment guards religious liberty; it does not sanction intentional abuse in religion's name," Jefferson wrote.[11]

Opinion article

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Jefferson received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of 0.91, indicating a conservative ideological leaning. This is equal to the average CF score of 0.91 that justices received in Texas. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[12]

See also

External links


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