Attorney General Ken Paxton today applauded President Trump’s nominations of former Texas Attorney General staffers Justice Don Willett, James C. Ho, and Kyle Duncan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Attorney General Paxton also praised the selection of the Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Louisiana, Kurt D. Engelhardt, to serve on the Fifth Circuit. 

“For months, I recommended to the President Justice Willett, James Ho, and Kyle Duncan as potential nominees for the Fifth Circuit. Each was a key member of the Texas Attorney General’s office. I am confident that all four nominees will faithfully adhere to our country’s founding principles embodied in the Constitution.”

Attorney General Paxton also commended the leadership of Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. “I applaud the diligence of Senators Cornyn and Cruz. Working together, they ensured candidates with proven track records of public service and a commitment to adhere to the rule of law advanced through the nomination process.”

Justice Don Willett, who previously served as Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel under then Attorney General Greg Abbott, was appointed to the Supreme Court of Texas by Governor Rick Perry in 2005. Prior to his service in the attorney general’s office, he served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Justice Department and was Special Assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-2002.

James C. Ho previously served as Solicitor General of Texas under then Attorney General Greg Abbott and Chief Counsel to Senator John Cornyn. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge Jerry E. Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is currently a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and co-chair of the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law practice group.   

Kyle Duncan clerked for Fifth Circuit Judge John M. Duhé, Jr. and practiced law at Vinson & Elkins before joining the Texas Solicitor General’s Office, where he represented Texas in numerous appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit. Duncan also taught law at Columbia University, University of Mississippi School of Law, and Louisiana State University, served as the Solicitor General of Louisiana, and was general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, where he was lead counsel representing Hobby Lobby Stores in its challenge to the HHS mandate.