A Model Federal Judge Dies: Judge William Wayne Justice Of Texas

There are hundreds of federal district court judges, and seldom will one hear much about them on a national level. But Judge William Wayne Justice, who died this week in Austin,Texas, at age 89, was a memorable figure in bringing Texas into the 20th century.

Appointed a district judge by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, and still presiding over his court recently, Judge Justice asserted a broad liberal view of the judicial role, and in so doing, benefited many Texans.

He promoted the integration of Texas public schools. He advanced major reforms of Texas prisons, which were among the worst in the nation. He asserted the right of illegal immigrant children to an education. He also promoted the reform of the juvenile justice system, integration of public housing, and bilingual education.

Two generations of African American, Mexican American, and poor white children and adults gained basic civil rights that would still be among the worst in the country today, were it not for the actions of Judge Justice. His last name was so appropriate, and although he was not a national figure, he deserves our respect and thanks for the leadership he demonstrated for 41 years!

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