Justice Nathan L. Hecht is the Senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and the senior Texas appellate judge in active service. He was appointed to the District Court in 1981, elected to the Court of Appeals in 1986, and first elected to the Supreme Court in 1988. Gov. Rick Perry appointed him chief justice in September 2013, succeeding Wallace B. Jefferson, and he began as chief justice October 1, 2013. In 2014 he will become the longest-serving Supreme Court member in Texas history.
Throughout his service on the Supreme Court, Justice Hecht has overseen the rules of administration, practice, and procedure in Texas courts. He has served, by appointment of the Chief Justice of the United States, on the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules for the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Chief Justice Hecht has also been responsible for the Supreme Court's efforts to assure that all Texans, including those living below the poverty level, have access to basic civil legal services. He is the Court's liaison to the Texas Access to Justice Commission.
Before taking the bench, Justice Hecht was a partner in the Locke firm in Dallas, practicing mainly in the area of general business and commercial litigation. He earned a B.A. degree with honors in philosophy from Yale University and his J.D. degree cum laude from Southern Methodist University School of Law, where he was a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar, was elected to Order of the Coif, and served as an editor for the Southwestern Law Journal. He served as a law clerk to the Hon. Roger Robb, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps.
Justice Hecht is a Life Member of the American Law Institute and a member of the Texas Philosophical Society.
His term ends December 31, 2014.