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Real Texas Justice
October 15, 2009 9:08 PM   Subscribe

Judge William Wayne Justice. 1920 -2009. Appointed to the federal bench in 1968, Judge Justice spent his career as a progressive jurist working to insure the rights of minorities, the poor and the disenfranchised. His rulings forced the State of Texas to desegregate public schools, reform its prison system and provide education to undocumented immigrants.
posted by anticlock (32 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by grouse at 9:09 PM on October 15, 2009


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posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:17 PM on October 15, 2009


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Judge Justice was a hero, in the fullest sense of that word. He stood up to death threats, impeachment threats and the white hot fury of conservatives, all in the name of legislating human compassion, equality and decency. :(

Zichronam livracha.
posted by zarq at 9:17 PM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rest in peace, your honor.

Oh, and stay classy, Texas.
posted by contessa at 9:26 PM on October 15, 2009


Judge Justice? Are you effin' kidding me?

I do remember, we had a guy running for DA named Lawless. Now that takes chutzpah. Also:

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posted by Tomorrowful at 9:38 PM on October 15, 2009


Wow. Amazing man.
posted by orthogonality at 9:46 PM on October 15, 2009


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posted by Windopaene at 9:48 PM on October 15, 2009


It's worth noting that the Texas prison system still has a long way to go.

Also,

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posted by IvoShandor at 9:49 PM on October 15, 2009


"I was never underprivileged, but I have human feelings. If you see someone in distress, well, you want to help them if you can. I hope people remember me for someone trying to do justice. That's what I've tried to do."

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posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:17 PM on October 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


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posted by scody at 10:19 PM on October 15, 2009


Judge Justice. His legacy is that he lived up to his name. (He is also a reminder that even though the Supreme Court is the highest in the land, even federal district court judges can make a huge difference.)
posted by thewittyname at 10:23 PM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


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posted by DreamerFi at 10:42 PM on October 15, 2009


A real hero. Thanks for posting. Otherwise I would have missed this news.
posted by ferdydurke at 11:02 PM on October 15, 2009


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posted by rtha at 11:04 PM on October 15, 2009


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posted by louche mustachio at 12:16 AM on October 16, 2009


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posted by brundlefly at 12:29 AM on October 16, 2009


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posted by strixus at 1:10 AM on October 16, 2009


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posted by ursus_comiter at 1:19 AM on October 16, 2009


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posted by sueinnyc at 2:51 AM on October 16, 2009


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posted by aught at 5:29 AM on October 16, 2009


"I was never underprivileged, but I have human feelings. If you see someone in distress, well, you want to help them if you can. I hope people remember me for someone trying to do justice. That's what I've tried to do."

Compassion seems to be a capacity that is independent of personal experience of hard times.
posted by orange swan at 5:50 AM on October 16, 2009


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posted by ryanshepard at 5:57 AM on October 16, 2009


People with names like that so rarely live up to them.


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posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 6:24 AM on October 16, 2009


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posted by longdaysjourney at 7:02 AM on October 16, 2009


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posted by miss-lapin at 7:26 AM on October 16, 2009


Thanks for the post. I grew up about an hour from Tyler and didn't know about Judge Justice.
posted by Mavri at 7:55 AM on October 16, 2009


I, too, would have missed this news without this post. Thank you, anticlock.

And many thanks to Judge Justice.

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posted by sleepinglion at 8:12 AM on October 16, 2009


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posted by bakerina at 8:13 AM on October 16, 2009


I have never heard of Judge Justice until I read this post, but I am glad to know that he existed.

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posted by jabberjaw at 8:35 AM on October 16, 2009


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posted by Kimberly at 9:36 AM on October 16, 2009


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I remember how much people hated him when I was a kid, but he was on the right side of pretty much everything I know he ruled on. I wish he were still with us, and in a position to do something about the Cameron Todd Willingham case. Or Sharon Keller and the Michael Richard fiasco. He will be much missed.
posted by immlass at 9:48 AM on October 16, 2009


I grew up in Tyler, and it was hard even as a kid not to know who Judge Justice was. He had a great name - a name that even a child could remember. I also knew that the town in general wasn't too fond of him, although my family had more of a neutral opinion. We weren't affected one way or another by his rulings, and lawyers don't speak ill of judges (one of my parents was an attorney).

Still, the bias of the community colored a lot of my judgment towards the man. Whenever I passed by his house (it was no secret where he lived), I would always look at it with a weird mix of feelings. On the one hand, he made all these rulings that people were really unhappy about. His prison rulings were the ones that people complained about the most - they believed that his rulings were expensive and unnecessary.

On the other hand, he did things that I knew were good for society. He integrated schools, and when you think about schools in Tyler you have to realize that they are still pretty segregated (although now for harder to manage socioeconomic reasons than for strict policy reasons). To think that they were even worse at some point was pretty unfathomable and terrifying.

Today, as an adult, I know that he was a great man. He lived in a community that didn't like him terribly much, but he issued rulings that were fair and made the world a better place. If I could, I would go back to Texas and thank him for being a true hero towards the poor and less fortunate.

Lastly, I think he made Tyler a better place. It's still a very conservative city, but the schools are better and the town is more racially cohesive than before. Tyler is not going to win any racial harmony awards, but it's not a bad place either. The other thing to remember is that the location of his home was never a secret; yet he lived there for years and years, never once fleeing town or boarding up his windows because he was so unwelcome that he felt afraid. While we may think that's a silly victory, in the general history of the south it's a great one.

So with all that, I give Judge Justice my heart-felt:

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posted by fremen at 12:25 PM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


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