UH professor appointed to high court

UH alumna and Houston Judge Eva Guzman made history this month when she became the first Hispanic woman appointed to the Texas Supreme Court.

Gov. Rick Perry made the appointment Oct. 8.

‘I pledge to perform my duties in a way that strengthens the faith of the people of Texas in our courts and in the rule of law,’ Guzman said at the announcement ceremony. ‘The citizens of Texas can count on me to come to the court with fresh eyes and fresh ears to consider every issue presented.’

At the ceremony, held at Guzman’s alma mater, Stephen F. Austin High School, Perry said he considered only the most outstanding individuals of great experience and accomplishment for the position.

A ‘principled conservative,’ Guzman is respected in the legal profession as a ‘strict constructionist with an unmatched work ethic,’ Perry said.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from UH, Guzman earned her law degree from the South Texas College of Law.

She practiced family and civil law for 10 years and served in the Texas judiciary.

In 1999, Guzman began her career behind the bench as a trial court judge in the Harris County Family Court, handling over 5,000 cases in three years, according to the Texas Supreme Court’s Web site.

‘ Appointed by Perry in 2001 to the 14th Court of Appeals of Texas, Guzman was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2004, and has ruled on more than 2,000 civil and criminal appeals cases.

Guzman is also an adjunct faculty professor at the UH Law Center, and has received many awards for her service both in the community and on the bench.

An elected member of the American Law Institute, a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum and a former board member of the Garland Walker American Inns of Court, she has twice received the Houston Bar Association President’s Award for Outstanding Committee Service, according to the TSC Web site.

Jim Lawrence, director of student competitions at the Blakely Advocacy Institute, said the University is looking for recognition, and Guzman is a ‘great reflection of the quality of our University.

‘It’s a way for us to say to the community, ‘Look, you may not remember us, or think about us, or know much about us, but here is an example of what we stand for and what we have to offer, and the kind of people that go here as students and that teach here.”

Lawrence said a Hispanic woman being appointed to the Texas Supreme Court is a victory in and of itself, and she will be an inspiration not only for Hispanic women but for anyone of humble beginnings.’

‘It shows that you can be principled and fair, and still with hard work you can get to the top of your profession,’ Lawrence said. ‘You don’t have to be a ruthless cut-throat politician or attorney to reach the top; you can do it through hard work and being principled, and I think that, from her background, is a huge victory and a huge statement.’

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