With so much focus on controversial matters now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, it is easy to forget that state supreme courts also decide countless cases of great consequence both for the parties and the public more broadly. A vacancy on the Texas Supreme Court arose earlier this year when Justice Eva Guzman announced her candidacy for Attorney General, joining a crowded field of Republicans and Democrats. With big shoes to fill, Governor Greg Abbott turned to a supremely qualified legal mind. Based in Houston, Evan Young is Chair of Baker Botts’ Supreme Court and Constitutional Law Practice, a Federalist Society leader, and former law clerk to the Justice Antonin Scalia. That clerkship followed his 4th Circuit Court clerkship with another admired jurist, J. Harvie Wilkinson.
Young, who also served in the Justice Department in the administration of President George W. Bush and was elected a member of the American Law Institute, brings exceptional legal acumen and experience at the highest levels of our judicial system to this important role. His advocacy has led to landmark victories, such as a Supreme Court decision siding with Young’s client in favor of greater freedom of information. In another case, Young co-authored a brief on behalf of a four-year old girl who was strip searched by a state caseworker that provided a roadmap for a more balanced qualified immunity jurisprudence.
Reflecting his impeccable credentials as an appellate lawyer, Young was tapped in 2015 to teach a class on federal courts as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Law School. He has also served on the Texas Judicial Council chaired by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht. This Council has been instrumental in developing consensus solutions to challenges such as improving data on court activities, enhancing due process in the state’s guardianship proceedings, bolstering indigent defense, and reducing the burden of government fines and fees. This means Young not only brings vast experience as an outstanding appellate litigator, but also will be ideally prepared to help carry out the Supreme Court’s role in providing oversight for the legal system.
Young’s passion for the law and remarkable intellect were evident at an early age. He even wrote a biography of a Supreme Court Justice while still in high school before earning history degrees from both Duke and Oxford to complement his law degree from Yale. Former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips summed up Young’s qualifications, noting: “He may not be in a class by himself. But it wouldn’t take long to call the roll.”
Note from the Editor: The Federalist Society takes no positions on particular legal and public policy matters. Any expressions of opinion are those of the author. To join the debate, please email us at [email protected].