Date: March 15, 2005
CONTACT: Cory Chandler, cory.chandler@ttu.edu

LUBBOCK – Gov. Rick Perry today named Texas Tech School of Law graduate Phillip Johnson to the Supreme Court of Texas.

Johnson currently serves as chief justice of the 7th District Court of Appeals. With the appointment, Johnson becomes the first School of Law graduate to serve on the Texas Supreme Court, said Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock.

“This is a significant appointment for Lubbock, for Texas Tech and for the State of Texas,” Duncan said. “Phillip is an outstanding lawyer, an outstanding judge and, more importantly, an outstanding person.”

Duncan pointed out that Johnson is the first West Texas justice to serve on the Texas Supreme Court since James G. Denton, who served from Jan. 1, 1971, to June 10, 1982, and died in office.

Johnson, a Lubbock native, is a graduate of Texas Tech and a cum laude graduate of the School of Law, where he was a member of the law review. He displayed his Red Raider pride today as Perry announced the appointment at the School of Law courtroom.

“I’m proud of Texas Tech,” he said. “I’m proud of the people at Texas Tech and I’m glad we have a seat at the table.”

Following graduation, Johnson was a partner with Crenshaw, Dupree and Milam in Lubbock. He has served as a justice on the 7th District Court of Appeals since 1999 and was named chief justice in 2003. During this period, Johnson disposed of more than 2,300 cases, wrote more than 800 opinions and earned a reputation as a fair-minded jurist who exercises great care and deliberation when rendering decisions.

Johnson currently serves as a life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, the Amarillo Area Bar Association and the Lubbock County Bar Association, where he served as president.

“I am appointing Phil Johnson to the Texas Supreme Court because he has the experience needed to be an effective justice for the people of this state, and he adheres to the philosophy that says judges should interpret the law, and not make it from the bench,” Perry said.

Johnson also is a decorated Air Force veteran; he was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with a bronze oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal with multiple oak leaf clusters and the RVN Cross of Gallantry.

The vacancy on the bench was created by the appointment of Justice Michael Schneider as a federal judge. This appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.