Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright is resigning at the end of the month to join an Austin law firm, the court announced Wednesday.

Wainwright joined the court in January 2003 and ranks third in seniority among the nine justices.

Gov. Rick Perry will appoint a replacement who'll be on the ballot in 2014; it's apparently too close to the November election to name a replacement in time to get on this year's ballot.

Here’s the official announcement form the court:

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Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright announced his resignation from the Court Wednesday, effective September 30. He will join Bracewell & Giuliani LLP’s Austin office.

Justice Wainwright joined the Court in January 2003. He is the third longest-serving justice on the Court.

“We are losing a great friend,” Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson said. “Dale’s scholarship, his attention to the administration of justice and his dedication to the Court are all part of a legacy that will long outlive his years of service.”

Before his election to the Court in November 2002, Wainwright served almost four years as a Harris County district court judge. He came to the bench after private practice with the Haynes and Boone and Andrews Kurth law firms in their Houston offices. He also practiced law in Nashville before moving to Houston.

“My service on the Court has been profoundly satisfying,” Wainwright said. “Over the last decade, I have worked with outstanding jurists at the Court in the development of the law and have made and solidified life-long friendships. I greatly enjoyed private practice, and it is time to return to it.”

Justice Wainwright is a graduate of the University of Chicago School of Law and earned his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in economics from Howard University. While at Howard he studied for a semester at the London School of Economics.

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He serves as trustee of the Center for American and International Law board and as an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Justice Wainwright and his wife, Debbie, live in Austin with their 15-year-old son. Their adult sons live in California and Austin.

Wainwright’s term on the Court ends in 2014. An appointment to replace him will be subject to Senate confirmation.

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