Wallace B. Jefferson

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Wallace Bernard Jefferson
Wallace B Jefferson.jpg
Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court
In office
September 2004 – October 1, 2013
Nominated by Rick Perry
Preceded by Thomas R. Phillips
Succeeded by Nathan Hecht
Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court
In office
Nominated by Rick Perry
Preceded by Alberto Gonzales
Succeeded by David M. Medina
Personal details
Born (1963-07-22) July 22, 1963 (age 52)
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Rhonda Jefferson
Children Three Boys
Occupation Attorney

Wallace Bernard Jefferson (born July 22, 1963)[1] is the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, who served from 2004 until October 1, 2013. In October 2013, he joined Alexander Dubose Jefferson Townsend as a name partner. He sits on the Council of the American Law Institute and became the treasurer of the organization in May 2014.[2]

Historic judicial appointments and elections[edit]

Jefferson has three times made Texas judicial history. In 2001, then Governor Rick Perry appointed him the first African American Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, and then again in 2004 he was appointed the first African American Chief Justice. In November 2002, Jefferson also became, along with Justice Dale Wainwright, one of the first two African Americans elected to the Court.

Jefferson was first appointed to the court on April 18, 2001, to fill the vacancy left by Alberto R. Gonzales, who resigned to become White House Counsel to U.S. President George W. Bush. Jefferson was then elected to that seat in 2002 with 56 percent of the vote. Before Jefferson could complete his new term, however, he was again promoted by Perry. On September 20, 2004, Perry appointed Jefferson the successor to Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips, who had resigned from the Court a few weeks earlier after nearly seventeen years as chief justice. Jefferson was elected in November 2006 to serve out the remainder of Phillips's unexpired term as Chief Justice in November 2006.

Governor Rick Perry named long-term Associate Justice Nathan Hecht of Dallas as Jefferson's successor as chief justice.

Notable activities[edit]

Jefferson was elected to the American Law Institute (the ALI) in 2001 and was elected to the ALI Council in 2011.[3] In May 2014, he was named Treasurer of the ALI. He also serves as an Adviser on the Restatement Third, the Law of Consumer Contracts.[4] He also chairs the ALI's Regional Advisory Group for Region 5 which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.[5]

During his time on the bench, Jefferson served as president of the Conference of Chief Justices,[6] an association of chief justices from the fifty states and U.S. territories.

In 2015, Governor Greg Abbott appointed Jefferson and two others, John L. Nau, III, the president and chief executive officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, and Anna Benavides Galo, a businesswoman from Laredo and the wife of Webb County commissioner John Galo, to the Texas Historical Commission. There are twelve members of the commission who serve staggered terms.[7]

Before taking the bench, Jefferson successfully argued two cases before the United States Supreme Court-- Board of Commissioners of Bryan County, Oklahoma v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397 (1997),[8] and Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District, 524 U.S. 274 (1998).[9]

Honors and awards[edit]

In 2013, Jefferson was the recipient of the Texas Exes' Distinguished Alumnus Award.[10]

Wallace B. Jefferson Middle School[edit]

In tribute to one of Northside ISD's most famous alumni, the district's 15th middle school was named in Jefferson's honor. The school opened on August 27, 2007. The dedication ceremony was held on October 27, 2007.

Here is the dedication video produced by Northside Independent School District.

Personal life[edit]

Jefferson and his wife, Rhonda J. Jefferson (born 1965), have three sons.

He is an alumnus of John Jay High School in San Antonio, Texas, the James Madison College at Michigan State University and the University of Texas School of Law.


External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas R. Phillips
Texas Supreme Court Justice,
Chief Justice

Succeeded by
Nathan Hecht
Preceded by
Alberto R. Gonzalez
Texas Supreme Court Justice,
Place 4

Succeeded by
David M. Medina