With a vacancy on the Texas Supreme Court, Gov. Rick Perry had to look no further than his own chief of staff, Jeffrey S. Boyd, to fill the seat.

Boyd, an Austin attorney, will join the justices on Dec. 3. He is replacing Dale Wainwright, who stepped down from the high court earlier this year to return to private practice.

"Jeff is a highly-respected attorney who has consistently excelled throughout his years of private practice, his terms of public service, and his leadership of important charitable organizations. His addition to the court will continue to protect the rule of law and further the tradition of defending the freedoms that Texans so vigorously uphold," Gov. Perry said in a Nov. 26 press release.

"He has earned my confidence, and the confidence of those he has worked with in all his endeavors, because he has a brilliant legal mind, he is committed to preserving the rule of law, and he strives every day to live a life of fairness, integrity and compassion. I know he will bring this same commitment to the Texas Supreme Court, and we will all be better for it."

Before becoming chief of staff for the Governor’s Office last October, Boyd served as the governor’s general counsel. He previously served as Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation under Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and former Attorney General and current U.S. Senator, John Cornyn.

"Being appointed to the Texas Supreme Court is of course the greatest professional honor I could ever receive," Boyd said in a statement released by Perry's office. "But, more importantly, it is a tremendous responsibility to the people of Texas, and I intend to fulfill it with everything I have. "

Boyd was also a former senior partner at Thompson and Knight LLP in Austin, and is admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Texas, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and all U.S. District Courts in Texas.

He also served as president of the Robert W. Calvert American Inn of Court, a member of the State Bar of Texas, Travis County Bar Association and Texas Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee.

Boyd’s appointment must first be approved by the Senate. If confirmed, his term expires at the end of 2014 and he could seek another term in that year’s general election.

Perry has named Ann S. Bishop to fill the vacancy as chief of staff. Bishop has been the Executive Director of the Employees Retirement System of Texas since 2004.

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