Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht
Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht (John Council)

Back in 1989, Nathan Hecht became one of the first Republicans since the Civil War ended to win election to the Texas Supreme Court. He’s been on that august body ever since. Last year, he became chief justice, and on Sunday, Jan. 26, he officially became the longest-serving high court justice in Texas history.

Hecht surpassed the milestone set by the late Joe Greenhill, the former Texas Supreme Court chief justice who served for 25 years and 25 days.

Back in December 2012, just after voters decided to send him back to the high court for a fifth term, Hecht sat down with Texas Lawyer senior reporter John Council to talk about the change’s he’s seen on the court, which transitioned in the mid1990s from an all-Democratic to an all-Republican body.

While the faces and the issues on the court have changed, Hecht maintains the court isn’t any better or any worse because of the party labels of the justices.

“I have not seen that change. But people do think differently from time to time, and they approach the law differently, and, sure, they have a different judicial philosophy and a different approach to the jurisprudence,” Hecht said.

“But do you expect it to be one way or the other because a person was elected on a Republican label as opposed to a Democratic label? I think it’s hard to discern that,” noted Hecht in the interview, in which he advocated for Texas to move to an appointed system for seating justices on the high court.