A candidate for the Texas Supreme Court is trying to remove his conservative opponent from the ballot.

Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine, considered by observers to be the court’s most consistently conservative member, is up for re-election this year. 

Challenging Devine is Brian Walker, who currently sits on the Fort Worth-based 2nd Court of Appeals. Walker’s father is Scott Walker, a member of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

In order to qualify for a place on the ballot for the Texas Supreme Court, each candidate must obtain at least 50 signatures from each of the state’s 14 courts of appeals districts. The election code also states that “a person may not sign the petition of more than one candidate for the same office in the same election.”

Walker alleges that Devine is deficient in the El Paso Court of Appeals District, also known as District 8:

Justice Walker received signatures from 18 people who signed Justice Devine’s petitions on days that are subsequent to the day that Justice Walker received their respective signatures. Justice Devine had eight signatures from individuals who signed Justice Walker’s petitions on a previous day but also later signed Justice Devine’s petitions on more than one occasion. Justice Devine also received duplicate signatures from two different individuals who did not sign Justice Walker’s petitions thus giving him two signatures that should not count. And, finally, Justice Devine received 11 signatures from individuals who signed Justice Walker’s petitions on the same day that they signed Justice Devine’s.

Walker is seeking emergency relief from the Supreme Court to remove Devine’s name from the Republican primary ballot, as printing of ballots begins on January 10. 

Devine compared the move to efforts by Democrats to remove former President Donald Trump from state ballots. 

“If they can’t do it fair and square in an election and let the people decide then they’ll try to figure out another way without campaigning, without sharing their political philosophy or judicial philosophy with the public to make an honest decision based on merit, instead of trickery and sandbagging,” Devine told Texas Scorecard. 

“I’m confident we’re correct and our arguments prevail,” he added.

Walker, meanwhile, said the petition “speaks for itself.”

“In order for statewide judicial candidates to get a place on the ballot, they must obtain 50 original, non-duplicative signatures from registered voters in each of the 14 appellate districts in Texas,” Walker told Texas Scorecard. “Justice Devine did not do that, therefore he did not meet the minimum requirements under Texas law that are required in order for a statewide judicial candidate to be placed on the ballot. Because that is the law and party leadership refused to follow it, we were compelled to pursue legal action at the Texas Supreme Court. Obviously, I would have preferred for party leaders to follow the law but they didn’t.”

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens