Emilio M. Garza

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Emilio Garza
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
In office
May 30, 1991 – August 1, 2012
Appointed by George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Thomas Reavley
Succeeded by Vacant
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
In office
April 20, 1988 – May 30, 1991
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by William Sessions
Succeeded by Orlando Garcia
Personal details
Born 1947 (age 67–68)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater University of Notre Dame
University of Texas, Austin

Emilio Miller Garza (born August 1, 1947) is a former judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Garza graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1969, receiving an MA there in 1970. He then joined the U.S. Marine Corps, in which he was an officer from 1970 to 1973. Garza earned his Juris Doctor at The University of Texas School of Law in 1976. He was an attorney in private practice with the law firm of Clemens, Spencer, Welmaker & Fink in San Antonio between 1976 and 1986.

On February 2, 1988, President Ronald Reagan appointed Garza to the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, to fill the seat vacated by William S. Sessions. The U.S. Senate confirmed Garza's appointment on April 19, 1988, and Garza received his commission the following day. On April 11, 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Garza to a seat on the Court of Appeals vacated by Thomas Morrow Reavley, and he was confirmed by the Senate on May 24, 1991, receiving his commission on May 30, 1991. Judge Garza assumed senior status August 1, 2012 and retired on January 5, 2015.

Garza was mentioned as a potential nominee to the United States Supreme Court. In fact, he was interviewed in 1991 for the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Thurgood Marshall. That seat ultimately went to Justice Clarence Thomas.

Notable opinions[edit]

  • Special concurrence in Fisher v. University of Texas, 631 F.3d 213 (5th Cir. 2011)
  • Dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc in Reliable Consultants, Inc. v. Earle, 538 F.3d 355 (5th Cir. 2008)
  • Majority opinion in Comacho v. Texas Workforce Commission, 408 F.3d 229 (5th Cir. 2005)
  • Majority opinion in U.S. v. Bird, 401 F.3d 633 (5th Cir. 2005)
  • Majority opinion in Wallace v. County of Comal, 400 F.3d 284 (5th Cir. 2005)
  • Majority opinion in Sierra Club v. Peterson, 228 F.3d 559 (5th Cir. 2000) (en banc)
  • Majority opinion in Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, 195 F.3d 242 (5th Cir. 1999) (en banc)
  • Majority opinion in United States v. Navarro, 169 F.3d 228 (5th Cir. 1999)
  • Majority opinion in United States v. Castillo, 179 F.3d 321 (5th Cir. 1999)
  • Special concurrence in Flores v. Johnson, 210 F.3d 456 (2000)
  • Special concurrence in Causeway Med. Suite v. Ieyoub, 109 F.3d 1096 (5th Cir. 1997)
  • Concurring opinion Doe v. Hillsboro Independent School District, 113 F.3d 1412 (5th Cir. 1997)(en banc)

In 2010, Judge Garza joined Judges Edith Brown Clement and Priscilla Owen in affirming the dismissal of the complaint in Doe v. Silsbee Independent School District.[1] The plaintiff ("H.S.") was a cheerleader who was ordered by her high school to cheer for her alleged rapist, a basketball player named Rakheem Bolton.[2] H.S. refused and was kicked off the team. She sued, claiming a violation of her First Amendment right to free speech. The Eastern District of Texas, Judge Thad Heartfield, granted the school district's motion to dismiss,[3] and Judges Clement, Garza, and Owen affirmed.[4] H.S. was ordered to pay the school $45,000 in legal fees for filing a "frivolous" lawsuit.[5]

See also[edit]


Material on this page is taken or adapted from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy, and from the Fifth Circuit Library System of the United States Court of Appeals, both public domain sources.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
William Sessions
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
Succeeded by
Orlando Garcia
Preceded by
Thomas Reavley
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit