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Texas Supreme Court justice defends supporting Miers in ethics appeal

[JURIST] Texas Supreme Court [official website] Justice Nathan Hecht [official profile], who was reprimanded by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct [official website] in May for his support of former US Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers [JURIST news archive], defended his actions to an appeals court Tuesday. Hecht was issued an "admonishment" [JURIST report], the least severe sanction allowed, following complaints filed with the commission that he improperly used his office to support Miers' candidacy. Under Texas judicial rules, justices are not permitted to use the prestige of their office to support private interests or to support candidates for office. On the request of Karl Rove [official profile], White House deputy chief of staff, Hecht gave about 120 newspaper, radio and television interviews. Hecht told the appeals board that he believed he needed to defend Miers after her nomination was criticized and said the he didn't believe he violated any ethical rules.

A three-judge panel which includes Justices Kerry FitzGerald [DBA profile] and Amos Mazzant [SBT profile] of the Dallas appeals court and Ann McClure [official profile] of the El Paso appeals court, heard testimony from Hecht, as well as US Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website], chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], who defended Hecht's support of Miers. The panel has 60 days to decide whether to uphold the admonishment. The Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram has local coverage.

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