Jason Jordan in The Texas Lawbook: 'NDTX Judge Starr: A Famous Uncle, a Ragtop Beetle and a Career of Public Service'

February 08, 2021

Judge Brantley Starr’s appointment to serve as a federal district court judge in the Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas is just the latest step in a legal career that exemplifies a deep commitment to public service. Having worked in many facets of Texas state government, on both sides of the bench, he brings a wealth of experience to his position in the federal judiciary.

Judge Starr recently took time out of his busy schedule to share some insights about his background, his career and his experiences so far on the bench. The wide-ranging discussion revealed that Judge Starr has a penchant not only for public service but also classic cars (he is the proud owner of a 1962 VW Ragtop Beetle), and he has fond memories of growing up in West Texas but is very much enjoying settling into the Dallas area.

Tips for Practice Before Judge Starr

With more than a year under his belt as a federal judge, Judge Starr has developed some pointers and practice tips that attorneys appearing in his court will likely benefit from knowing

For written submissions, keep in mind the following:

  • Do not stretch on the law. Judge Starr or his law clerks will identify overstatements or mischaracterizations, which take a significant toll on credibility with the court.
  • When written text is at issue, such as a contract or statutory provision, focus your arguments on the plain text. Recognize that the Fifth Circuit is a textualist court, and the Fifth Circuit is “grading” Judge Starr’s work.
  • Do not file unnecessary motions. For example, in most cases, a separate motion to strike evidence is not needed – simply state any objections in the briefing.

Judge Starr is open to scheduling oral arguments when appropriate and conducts those hearings much like an appellate argument. The movant will go first, followed by the respondent and then a brief reply argument. He does not impose strict time limits, but the parties should keep the arguments concise and be prepared to answer questions as he poses them.

Excerpted from The Texas Lawbook. To read the full article, click here. (Subscription required)

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