Texas lost another legal giant today with the death of retired Texas Supreme Court Justice Jack Hightower. The Court’s official announcement, courtesy of Osler McCarthy, appears here.
I was a brand-new law clerk—a position then known as “briefing attorney”—during Justice Hightower’s last few months on the bench. SCOTX is one of the few high courts that allows law clerks to attend internal court conferences, and I remember Justice Hightower’s views being widely respected around the conference table. He did not speak up very often, but when he did, everyone listened.
Justice Hightower lived an incredible life of service, and he encouraged others to do the same. One of the lawyers who worked in his chambers that final year, Jeff Brown, has gone on to become an appellate judge after spending several years on the trial bench. When Justice Hightower retired in early 1996, his replacement was Greg Abbott, who has served as Texas Attorney General since 2002 is and now a leading gubernatorial candidate.
We would all do well to follow Justice Hightower’s example. May he rest in peace.