Nina Cortell in Texas Lawyer: High Court Committee Tackles Ex Parte Communication Rule


When the Texas Supreme Court had two high-profile same-sex divorce cases on its docket, justices were flooded with emails from the public urging them to uphold the traditional definition of marriage.

It prompted Chief Justice Nathan Hecht to pose a question to the high court's advisory committee: Ethically speaking, how should judges respond when an email or social campaign targets them, seeking to influence a case?

A subcommittee of the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee tackled the question, considering whether to amend the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct's rule about ex parte communications. The subcommittee presented its findings to the full advisory committee on Oct. 16, but the idea—in its current form—might end there.

Nina Cortell, the subcommittee's chairwoman, said that the subcommittee wanted to present a proposal for discussion, but was divided on whether any action should be taken...

"There was great concern about opening up this can of worms," said Cortell, partner in Haynes and Boone in Dallas. "It's only triggered if the judge thinks there's a possible way the judge thinks he can be influenced."

Excerpted from Texas Lawyer. To read the full article click here.

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