Texas Politics - Supreme Court Chief Justices
 
   
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16.    Phillips, Thomas R.

Thomas R. Phillips (1949-) was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on January 4, 1988, and was subsequently elected in 1988, 1990, 1996 and 2002. He retired in 2004. A Dallas native, Phillips graduated from Woodrow Wilson High, earned a B.A. from Baylor University (1971) and a J.D. from Harvard Law School (1974). After serving one year as a briefing attorney to Justice Ruel C. Walker of the Supreme Court of Texas, Phillips was a trial attorney with Baker & Botts in Houston from 1975-1981. In 1981, he was appointed by Governor William P. Clements as judge of the 280th District Court in Harris County where he served through 1987.

Chief Justice Phillips is past president of the National Conference of Chief Justices and past chair of the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, serving as an advisor to its Federal Judicial Code project. From 1989 to 1996 he served on the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States and is a director of the American Judicature Society. He is a member of both the Philosophical Society of Texas and the Houston Philosophical Society and the board of the Southwestern Legal Foundation. By virtue of his office, Chief Justice Phillips chaired both the Texas Judicial Council and Texas Judicial Districts Board. He was president of the Harvard Law School Association of Texas in 1981-1982 and serves on several boards and committees at Baylor University.

Chief Justice Phillips received the Texas Chamber of Commerce Award of Excellence in Government in 1992, the Outstanding Texas Leader Award from the John Ben Sheppard Public Leadership Forum in 1989, and the Houston Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the Houston Young Lawyers Association in 1986. He was awarded an honorary L.L.D. from Texas Tech University in 1997 and an honorary D.H.L. from St. Edward's University in 1998 and was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Baylor University in 1998. In 1999 the National Center for State Courts honored him with its Distinguished Service Award. In September 2005 he joined the Austin office of Baker Botts. He is married to Lyn B. Phillips, Ph.D., and has a son, Daniel, and a stepson, Thomas Kirkham.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: link: Baker Botts.

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