[JURIST] The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct [official website], an independent state agency charged with investigating judicial improprieties, has admonished Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht [Wikipedia profile] for using the prestige of his office to promote the nomination of Harriet Miers [JURIST news archive] to the US Supreme Court. An admonition is the least severe punishment the Commission may deliver. Hecht, who introduced Miers to President Bush in the 1980s, has said will appeal the decision to a panel of three Texas judges who were selected on Tuesday through a lottery process.
According to the decision, Hecht communicated with the White House shortly before her nomination was announced, agreeing to speak with conservative groups about Miers' views on abortion, and to have interview requests forwarded to his office. Hecht, the longest tenured member of the Court, has said that any statements made by him on "matters of national public interest" are protected by First Amendment free speech guarantees, and that many of his peer judges routinely offer advice on nominations. The Houston Chronicle has local coverage.