Judicial candidates deserve a look

by Kate McCarty

Voters in November will have a chance to bring some political balance to the Texas Supreme Court. I know many feel these should be non-partisan positions, but that’s not what we have in Texas, so we should at least seek balance. Many voters also overlook these positions as they concentrate on the presidential, senatorial and other races.

Of the nine members of the Texas Supreme Court, all but two initially gained their seats through appointment, and all nine list their party affiliation as Republican. But an impressive array of Democratic opponents will be before voters in November, and they are worth your vote. Among them are:

• Amy Clark Meachum, candidate for the state Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, is a judge in Texas’ 201st District Court, where she has served since 2011. A. graduate of SMU and the UT-Austin law school, she serves as Civil Presiding Judge for all civil and family law cases in Travis County and is judicial liaison for the Administrative and Public Law Council for the state Bar of Texas. She was the recipient of the Travis County Women Lawyers Association Pathfinder award in 2015, among many other awards, and is a frequent speaker for the State Bar of Texas, Austin Bar Association and Texas Center for Legal Ethics.

• Kathy Cheng operates her own law firm in Houston where she also volunteers with the League of Women Voters and other non-profits. A native of Taiwan, she immigrated with her parents and three siblings at the age of 9 due to political uncertainty in her native land. She has degrees from LSU-Shreveport and South Texas College of Law. An advocate for her clients for nearly two decades, she understands that to achieve equality and fairness one must have a voice. She notes that there is a dire need for diversity on the state’s highest court, which for more than two decades has been comprised solely of Republicans.

• Staci Williams is a judge in Texas’ 101st District Court where she has served since 2014. She has a B.A. from Smith College and a J.D. from Georgetown University. With a wide variety of corporate and retail legal work under her belt, she has served as trial attorney and administrative judge for the EEOC, counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and a municipal judge in Dallas. Williams has also been on arbiter panels for the USPS, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

• Gisela Triana serves in Place 6 of the Texas Third District Court of Appeals, a position she has held since last year. She holds a B.A. from the University of Texas-San Antonio and a J.D. from UT-Austin. Triana has worked as Trial Division director with the Travis County Attorney’s Office and as staff attorney with the Texas Secretary of State’s Election Division. Triana has more than 24 years of experience on the judicial bench. Before serving on the Appellate Court, Triana served on every level of the Texas trial courts. Her experience makes her highly qualified to serve.

The importance of the case law that comes from the judiciary impacts our lives daily. Texans would be well served by all of these impressive candidates. Please go to the polls informed about all candidates, even those often overlooked.

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