U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Republicans of Texas, today announced their bipartisan Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee, which will screen and recommend nominees for federal judicial and U.S. attorney vacancies in Texas.

“Texans deserve able, fair and independent prosecutors and judges, and I’m proud to join Sen. Cruz in reconstituting this bipartisan committee to ensure individuals who are of the highest caliber are confirmed expeditiously and can begin serving Texas as soon as possible,” Cornyn said in a statement.

“It is crucial that we ensure Texans have the best, most qualified judges and prosecutors defending their rights in court,” Cruz said in a statement.

The committee has assisted Texas senators in screening judicial and U.S. attorney candidates for the better part of two decades. Leading it now will be David Prichard, a partner in San Antonio’s Prichard Hawkins McFarland & Young. He replaces Dan Hedges, a partner in Houston’s Porter Hedges, who lead the committee for more than a decade.

“It’s a terrific honor. I’ve been on the committee for a little over a 11 years. And I’ve got some big sandals to fill with Dan Hedges going off the committee,” Prichard says. “It’s a real honor to be asked by the senators.”

And while they are not identified as such on the list, there are indeed bona fide Democrats on the list of committee members, Prichard says. While he doesn’t know everyone appointed to the newly reconstituted committee, Prichard counts at least six Democrats on the list of 35 lawyers and judges who have been named to the group.

“There are a lot more Democrats on this committee now than when I was asked to join this committee in 2002,” Prichard says.

One is George Bramblett, a partner in Dallas’ Haynes and Boone, who confirms that he’s served on the committee before and that he’s still a Democrat.

“Yes,” Bramblett says. “I’m pleased and honored to again serve on the committee.”

Vice-chairmen of the committee are Raul Gonzalez, an Austin solo, and James Ho of Dallas, a partner in Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

Members of the committee include:

David Beck (Houston, partner, Beck Redden)
John Beckworth (Houston, partner, Watt Beckworth Thompson Henneman & Sullivan)
Maria Wyckoff Boyce (Houston, partner, Baker Botts)
Zach Brady (Lubbock, partner, Brady & Hamilton)
George Bramblett (Dallas, partner, Haynes and Boone)
David Cabrales (Dallas, partner, Locke Lord)
James Cousar (Austin, partner, Thompson & Knight)
Erin Nealy Cox (Dallas, executive managing director, Stroz Friedberg)
Steve Cox (Houston, corporate counsel, Apache Corp.)
Janet Dhillon (Plano, general counsel, JC Penney Corp.)
Brady Edwards (Houston, partner, Morgan Lewis & Bockius)
Charles Eskridge (Houston, partner, Susman Godfrey)
Jaime Esparza (El Paso, District Attorney, 34th Judicial District)
Larry Finder (Houston, partner, Baker & McKenzie)
Allyson Ho (Dallas, partner, Morgan Lewis & Bockius)
Gaylord Hughey (Tyler solo)
Bill Jones (Austin, owner, The Jones Firm)
Dee Kelly Jr. (Fort Worth, managing partner, Kelly Hart & Hallman)
Bradley Knippa (Austin, partner, Jackson Walker)
W. Gregory Looser (Houston, senior vice president, Pride International Inc.)
George McWilliams (Texarkana solo)
Connie Pfeiffer (Houston, partner, Beck Redden)
Tom Phillips (Austin, partner, Baker Botts)
Adam Ross (Dallas, founder & CEO, Goldcrest Investments)
Kelly Shackelford (Plano, president & CEO, Liberty Institute)
Kent Sullivan (Austin, partner, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan)
Steve Susman (Houston, partner, Susman Godfrey)
Andy Taylor (Houston, founder, Andy Taylor & Associates)
Michael Truncale (Beaumont, partner, Orgain Bell & Tucker)
Lori Valenzuela (San Antonio, 437th District judge)
Manny Vela (Harlingen, president and CEO, Valley Baptist Health System)
Margaret Wilson (Austin, general counsel, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles)