Jason Boatright.
Jason Boatright. (Courtesy photo)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Jason Boatright, a lawyer who once served as chief of the opinion division during Abbott’s tenure as Texas attorney general, to fill a vacant seat on Dallas’ Fifth Court of Appeals.

Boatright replaces David Lewis, who voluntarily resigned from office in October rather than face formal removal proceedings from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct after his colleagues concluded Lewis had become too mentally impaired to function as a judge. Lewis was suspended from the bench in late 2015 while he received treatment for alcoholism.

In his former position as chief of the opinion division, Boatright drafted hundreds of written decisions in which he answered questions from state officials concerning the power and limits of government authority. He also served as director of the general counsel section of the Texas Railroad Commission and senior manager of government and regulatory affairs for Regency Energy Partners before joining Austin’s Cobb & Counsel. Boatright said he relocated to Dallas in May of 2014.

“I’m very gratified to be appointed and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Boatright, who will serve the remaining two years left on Lewis’ six-year term.

Boatright is an unusual appointment to the Fifth Court as most of its justices have strong ties to Dallas or the five surrounding counties the appellate court serves while Boatright has spent the majority of his career in Austin. A seat on the all-Republican Fifth Court is coveted among many in the Dallas GOP after the Democrat Party swept the Dallas’ civil and criminal courthouses during the 2006 general election. Democrats now hold every trial court bench in Dallas County.

James Ho, a partner in the Dallas office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher who formerly served as Texas’ solicitor general, said Boatright will make a great addition to the Fifth Court.

“We first met when he was responsible for all legal opinions for the State of Texas, as chief of the opinions committee for Attorney General Greg Abbott,” Ho said. “He’ll be right at home writing legal opinions once again, as a court of appeals justice.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Jason Boatright, a lawyer who once served as chief of the opinion division during Abbott’s tenure as Texas attorney general, to fill a vacant seat on Dallas’ Fifth Court of Appeals.

Boatright replaces David Lewis , who voluntarily resigned from office in October rather than face formal removal proceedings from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct after his colleagues concluded Lewis had become too mentally impaired to function as a judge. Lewis was suspended from the bench in late 2015 while he received treatment for alcoholism.

In his former position as chief of the opinion division, Boatright drafted hundreds of written decisions in which he answered questions from state officials concerning the power and limits of government authority. He also served as director of the general counsel section of the Texas Railroad Commission and senior manager of government and regulatory affairs for Regency Energy Partners before joining Austin’s Cobb & Counsel. Boatright said he relocated to Dallas in May of 2014.

“I’m very gratified to be appointed and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Boatright, who will serve the remaining two years left on Lewis ‘ six-year term.

Boatright is an unusual appointment to the Fifth Court as most of its justices have strong ties to Dallas or the five surrounding counties the appellate court serves while Boatright has spent the majority of his career in Austin. A seat on the all-Republican Fifth Court is coveted among many in the Dallas GOP after the Democrat Party swept the Dallas’ civil and criminal courthouses during the 2006 general election. Democrats now hold every trial court bench in Dallas County.

James Ho, a partner in the Dallas office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher who formerly served as Texas’ solicitor general, said Boatright will make a great addition to the Fifth Court.

“We first met when he was responsible for all legal opinions for the State of Texas, as chief of the opinions committee for Attorney General Greg Abbott,” Ho said. “He’ll be right at home writing legal opinions once again, as a court of appeals justice.”