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Justice profile: Boyd enjoys meeting students

From Staff Reports
Feb. 15, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Boyd

The justices of the Texas Supreme Court don't live their careers exclusively within the confines of their 14th Street home in Austin.

Justice Jeffrey Boyd notes the year-round speaking engagements and statewide election campaigns every six years that get each of the nine justices out of Austin regularly.

And then there's the visiting court treks such as the one set for Thursday.

"So we get out of the office pretty regularly, and often think it would be nice to get to stay in the office once in a while," Boyd said. "But we don't, because we enjoy meeting Texans and keeping them informed about the court and the issues that affect their lives."

Boyd will be one step more visible than his colleagues during the Longview trip. The public is invited to hear him speak on "God, the Court and the Law" at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Belcher Center.

An ordained minister, Boyd will remain in town Friday to conduct a public chapel service at 10:50 a.m. Friday, speaking on "Degrees Worth Pursuing."

The Place 7 justice was appointed to the bench in 2012 by then-Gov. Rick Perry, for whom he had served more than a year as chief of staff and before that as the governor's general counsel.

"Our trips outside of Austin help us learn more about Texans, their communities and the issues they face, and at the same time help them learn more about their court and how it operates," Boyd said in an email reply to questions.

The Longview visit to hear arguments at LeTourneau University's Belcher Center, in at least one respect, mirrors other out-of-town sessions. The state's highest civil court appreciates the teaching moments these encounters offer.

"Almost all of our trips are hosted by a local university or law school," Boyd said. "And we usually reach out to local high schools to invite them to join us, so we have a ready audience with younger Texans.

"Just as we'll be doing in Longview, we typically spend time after arguments meeting with smaller groups of students to visit on a more personal level about our judicial system and their opportunities in the law."

After earning his bachelor's degree from Abilene Christian University, Boyd graduated summa cum laude, and second in his law school class, from Pepperdine University. The young lawyer then clerked for Judge Thomas Reavley on the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Two stints in private practice sandwich his service as a deputy attorney general under then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn and later for Gov. Greg Abbott when the latter was the state's attorney general.

Boyd joined the governor's staff in 2011.

Named a Texas Super Lawyer for government practice in 2004 and from 2006 to 2010, Boyd is a past president and board member for Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas.

He also has volunteered as chairman and a director for Goodwill Industries of Central Texas and as a director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

Boyd was a youth and family minister at Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ in Austin before enrolling in law school. he served on the Brentwood Christian School Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2000.

"We expect Texans to elect the best people as their Supreme Court justices, yet most of them know very little about the court and nearly nothing about the justices," he said. "By giving Texans the opportunity to meet the justices and see their court in action, we hope to encourage the public to learn more and understand how important their votes are."

Boyd and his wife, Jackie, are parents to twin daughters, Hanna and Abbie, and a son, Carter.

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