A first-generation American who grew up in El Paso, Huddle will replace retiring Justice Paul W. Green, a Republican who served on the state’s highest court from 2004 to August 2020.
Abbott made the announcement during a press conference at Stephen F. Austin High School in El Paso, from which Huddle graduated. The governor noted that Huddle’s father had died when she was only five years old, and her mother supported Rebeca and her four siblings by working as a seamstress in a local factory.
“Rebecca learned her powerful work ethic right here in El Paso, Texas,” said Abbott. “Growing up, learning the lessons from her mother…from her fellow El Pasoans, about what it means to work hard, to strive, to achieve bold things in your lives.”
Huddle attended Stanford University on a scholarship and graduated from the University of Texas School of Law with honors. She previously served as a justice on the Texas First District Court of Appeals, having been appointed by former Governor Rick Perry in 2011 and winning reelection as a Republican candidate in 2012. In 2017, Huddle retired from the bench and has been at the prestigious Baker Botts law firm in Houston where she is a partner.
“Her legal skills are absolutely extraordinary,” said Abbott. “She has proven respect for the rule of law and the role of the Constitution.”
During her own remarks, Huddle said “I pledge to work hard every day to faithfully apply the law as written in every case that comes before the court.”
“I won’t legislate from the bench.”
Huddle paid homage to her high school and hometown and added, “What a way to close Hispanic Heritage Month this year.”
The newly named justice took several questions from the press in Spanish and answered in kind.
“I understand the magnitude of the trust and responsibility that the governor is placing in me and in every justice at the Supreme Court, and I’ll work hard every day to earn that trust anew.”
As an appointee, Huddle will serve through the end of 2022. She joins Justice Eva Guzman (R) who in 2009 became the first Hispanic female to serve on the Supreme Court of Texas. Guzman’s current term also expires in 2022.
The court’s nine members are all Republicans, and four of them, including Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, will be on the November 2020 ballot. Lately, the court has been called upon to weigh in on numerous election-related issues, and is expected to issue a decision regarding Harris County’s expansion of mail-in ballot drop off locations and drive-through voting this week.
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Holly Hansen is a freelance writer living in Harris County. Her former column, “All In Perspective” ran in The Georgetown Advocate, Jarrell Star Ledger, and The Hill Country News, and she has contributed to a variety of Texas digital media outlets. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in History, and in addition to writing about politics and policy, also writes about faith and culture.