Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My New Website for the 2010 Election

For my current website (concerning my 2010 judicial race), please go to http://votecruz.webs.com/

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Please Vote for Democratic Candidates in Texas Judicial and Legislative Races

As an attorney who is shocked and alarmed by the aggressive and unconscionable manner in which the Texas Supreme Court and Texas legislature have worked hand-in-hand to preclude entire categories of legitimate lawsuits from being pursued in the Texas courts for the benefit of corporate interests, I strongly urge Texans to vote for all Democratic candidates for the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas legislature as well as Congress and the lower courts!

Many voters overlook judicial races. However, this year there are many excellent judicial candidates on the ballot for whom I would implore all Texans to vote.

The Texas Supreme Court is currently composed entirely of Republican justices (nine in all), several of whom were originally appointed by Republican governors George W. Bush or Rick Perry and who have never been challenged by an opponent in any primary or general election! This Court's judicial activism on behalf of corporate interests has become a joke! For example, class actions can effectively no longer be brought in Texas courts because of the Texas Supreme Court's consistent refusal to certify classes and lawyers joke that the only time a Plaintiff can ever win in the Texas Supreme Court is when an insurance company is suing another insurance company! The Texas Supreme Court has also become known for actively doing away with legal rights and remedies upon which Texans have long relied to pursue remedies in court when they have been injured or financially harmed!

I strongly support Jim Jordan in his race for Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. He is currently a well-respected District Court judge in Dallas County and his views on the role of judges can be found in his excellent editorial, which can be downloaded from his website (it is the bottom item) at http://www.judgejimjordan.com/press-kit/

Linda Yañez is another excellent candidate for the Texas Supreme Court. She is an appellate court justice on Texas' 13th Court of Appeals who currently teaches part time at Harvard Law School. I have met her and heard her speak on numerous occassions and can vouch for her intellect. I very much hope that she will be elected to the Texas Supreme Court.

Sam Houston, my former opponent in the Democratic Primary, is also an excellent candidate who will be a significant improvement over the Republican incumbent.

There are also numerous excellent Democratic candidates for the Texas trial and Appellate courts, which remain dominated by Republicans who have often appeared beholden to corporate interests.

Three excellent judicial candidates in Dallas County are Eric Moye, Ken Molberg and incumbent judge Loraine Raggio. Eric Moye is a Harvard educated former judge whose intellect is immediately apparent in any conversation and who is impressive in every respect. Ken Molberg is a well-known, highly respected litigator with decades of litigation experience. Loraine Raggio is a knowledgeable and fair judge in whose court I have appeared. I wholeheartedly encourage all Dallas County voters to vote for all three.

The Republican-dominated Texas legislature has, likewise, mandated new deadlines which have effectively shortened limitations periods in which many kinds of cases can be brought and imposed such honerous obstacles to bringing cases in court that it has become nearly impossible to find a lawyer willing to bring a medical malpractice case in even the most egregious cases of medical malpractice. As a result, the worst doctors in the country have been flocking to Texas where they know they can get away with medical malpractice without being sued! Likewise, homeowners who have been cheated by unscrupulous and/or unskilled homebuilders must now go through an elaborate, lengthy and expensive process administered by the Texas Residential Construction Commission before they can even bring a claim before an arbitrator -- access to the courts has been effectively eliminated in construction cases in Texas -- and then can only do so within a very limited period of time. For this reason it is also imperative that Texans elect Democrats to the Texas legislature!

Two excellent candidates for the Texas legislature, whom I know personally are Emil Reichstadt, who is running for the Texas House of Representatives, and Rain Levy Minns, who is running for the Texas Senate.

I also strongly support Rick Noriega in his statewide race for the U.S. Senate and urge others to support him as well.

Likewise, I urge voters to vote for Eric Roberson, whom I have known for many years, in his important race for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Denunciation of John McCain's McCarthyism

It is a stunning development that John McCain has decided to channel Joseph McCarthy and revive a shameful chapter in American history with his accusations that Barak Obama is a socialist or a Marxist! Is Joseph McCarthy an American hero? Has McCarthy not been sufficiently discredited as a demagogue and a cretin whose venomous accusations on a national stage made a mockery of American values and justice? Does it not reveal John McCain and Sarah Palin as contemptuous Joseph McCarthy wannabes that they would embrace McCarthyism as a campaign strategy? Isn't it time that somebody ask John McCain and Sarah Palin -- as Joseph McCarthy was asked by Special Counsel for the Army Joseph Welch -- if, at long last, they have no sense of decency left?

McCain's argument that Obama is a socialist or a Marxist because Obama wants to cut taxes for Americans making less than $200,000 and rollback Bush's tax cuts for Americans making over $250,000 is, further, extraordinarily deceitful and hypocritical since McCain opposed Bush's tax cuts in the first place! Does that mean that McCain was a Marxist or a socialist when he opposed Bush's tax cuts? Or is Obama being called a socialist or a Marxist because he supports greater tax cuts for the middle class than McCain? If that is the criteria, then every Republican who has supported tax cuts for the middle class is a socialist or a Marxist! Nor should it be forgotten that while Republican hero Ronald Reagan pushed through tax cuts that predominantly benefitted the wealthy, he hypocritically made unemployment benefits taxable, thereby "redistributing wealth" from the unemployed to the rich! The bottom line is that for Republicans raising taxes on the recently unemployed and the middle class to pay for tax cuts for the rich is not a problem, but cutting taxes on the middle class and the recently unemployed while raising them on the rich is unthinkable!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thank you to my supporters! My Campaign for Judicial Reform Continues! Endorsement of Sam Houston, Linda Yañez and Jim Jordan.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me, contributed to my campaign, and/or asked others to vote for me.

Although I did not win, I am encouraged by the fact that nearly 900,000 people voted for me. If you consider that 81 year-old Gene Kelly, who did not campaign, got almost 27% of the vote in his Senate race against Rick Noriega, Ray McMurrey, and Rhett Smith from voters who appear to have been voting solely for famous names and consider that these voters almost certainly voted for Sam Houston for the same reason, simple math (44/73) shows that I got more than 60% of the remaining vote! Who knows what could have happened had I not been running against a famous name.

That said, I congratulate Sam Houston, Linda Yañez and Jim Jordan (who ran unopposed) on their Democratic primary wins. Sam Houston, unlike Gene Kelly, is a serious candidate whom I now endorse and whom I genuinely hope will win in November. Likewise, I have met and been impressed with Linda Yañez and Jim Jordan, each of whom will also represent the Democratic Party well in the November general election and happily endorse each of them as well.

It is my hope that Sam Houston, Linda Yañez and Jim Jordan will embrace the ideas for judicial reform I have listed on this website and advocated throughout my campaign, which I also encourage the current members of the Texas Supreme Court to implement. Because nearly all of these ideas can be implemented by individual civil and appellate courts and judges throughout Texas, I hope that they will do so of their own volition, and that trial court judges will enter appropriate orders when appointing guardians ad litem pursuant to Rule 173 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, giving guardians ad litem the expanded authority I continue to advocate.

The mere fact that I have lost my primary will not end my campaign for the judicial reforms listed below and discussed on my YouTube video which remain relevant and will significantly reduce litigation costs for many Texas litigants, make the Texas courts more accessible to the public, and eliminate unethical practices which are inexplicably tolerated in the Texas judiciary.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Solution to the Supreme Court's Backlog of Cases

The Texas Supreme Court has fallen way behind on its cases and is frequently taking years to issue its opinions. Currently each justice on the Court has two law clerks who do much of the research and writing for their respective justices. I will hire local law students willing to work part time for free to assist my clerks so that we can get a lot more research done and opinions written in a timely fashion. This should substantially expedite the issuance of the Supreme Court decisions that I am assigned to write.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Compare Side-By-Side Candidate Questionnaire Responses

Compare my responses to the Dallas Morning News' candidate questionnaire with those of my opponent in the Democratic Primary at http://www.thevoterguide.org/a-dallas/race-detail.do?id=10003252&party=Democratic:D and decide for yourself who is the better candidate.

The Dallas Morning News has taken my questionnaire responses off their website, so I have reposted them below.

Biographical Info
Baltasar D. Cruz
Street Address:
P.O. Box 600823
Harvard University, A.B. in Government, 1987; University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., 1990
Date of Birth:
Work or Campaign Office Phone Number:
(214) 369-9058
Home Phone Number:
Mobile Phone Number:
Fax Number:
E-mail Address:
Campaign Web Site Address:
Campaign Questions
Length of residency in Texas:
17 years
Occupation/main source of income:
I have been doing civil litigation in Texas since March of 1991 and have extensive experience in all aspects of litigation on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants of a wide variety of statutory and common law causes of action including personal injury, breach of contract, fraud, DTPA, residential and commercial construction disputes, insurance coverage litigation from examinations under oath (EUOs) in investigation of suspicious claims through final disposition at trial, third-party insurance defense litigation (including products liability and premises liability cases), insurance subrogation litigation, declaratory judgment actions, complex litigation involving Constitutional and conflict of law issues, and appeals. I have also served as a court appointed guardian ad litem for injured children (to review proposed settlements on their behalf and make independent recommendations to courts as to whether or not these settlements should be approved) in 11 personal injury cases (e.g., in one case I rejected a proposed settlement of $67,500.00, fired an incompetent Plaintiff's attorney, hired a new attorney for the child, and approved a new settlement of $250,000.00; in another case I rejected a proposed settlement of $12,000.00, persuaded the Plaintiff's attorney to withdraw, and hired a new attorney to handle the case pro bono who subsequently settled the case for $60,000.00).
Current civic involvement/accomplishment highlights:
Democratic Candidate for Texas Supreme Court, Place 7 (2008); North Dallas Evening Rotary Club
Previous civic involvement/accomplishment highlights:
I have served as a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem for children in 11 personal injury cases in Dallas County, Texas and have negotiated increased settlements for children in several of those cases (e.g., in one case I rejected a proposed settlement of $67,500.00, fired an incompetent Plaintiff's attorney, hired a new attorney for the child, and approved a new settlement of $250,000.00; in another case I rejected a proposed settlement of $12,000.00, persuaded the Plaintiff's attorney to withdraw, and hired a new attorney to handle the case pro bono who subsequently settled the case for $60,000.00); Eagle Scout; Order of the Arrow; Served on Staff at 1985, 1997 and 2005 National Boy Scout Jamborees; Assistant Scoutmaster of local Boy Scout Troop; Assistant Scoutmaster of U.S. contingent troop 107 to 1983 World Scout Jamboree; Crew Leader of 1982 Philmont Scout Ranch/National High Adventure Base expedition; Played football at Harvard for four years (1983 - 1986); Harvard Varsity Club; Harvard Club of Dallas; Harvard Schools Committee - have interviewed local applicants for admission to Harvard College and have attended college open houses at local high schools on behalf of Harvard College; Cara Mia Theater - served on board of directors; Served on Dallas Grand Jury for three months; Democratic Candidate for Judge of Dallas County Court at Law No. 3 (2006); worked as a volunteer for Craig Watkins Campaign for Dallas District Attorney in 2006; worked as a volunteer for Michael Dukakis Presidential Campaign in 1988; Attorney Advisor for Science and Engineering High School Mock Trial Team (2003 - 2004, 2004 - 2005, 2005 - 2006, 2006 - 2007); Judged numerous High School Mock Trial Competitions; Judged negotiating skills competition at SMU Law School; handled two political asylum cases referred from Proyecto Adelante in Dallas pro bono; NCAA Volunteers for Youth (1984-1987) (participated in big brother program in college); Served on Harvard Undergraduate Council; High School Valedictorian at Escuela Superior Jose de Diego in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; High School Science Medal; High School Math Medal; High School Bausch & Lomb Science Medal; Several letters published in the Dallas Morning News, Texas Lawyer, and The Harvard Crimson; Article published in February 9, 1999 issue of Rooflines (published by the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas) on various legal issues, including discriminatory practices forbidden under the Fair Housing Act and Texas Health & Safety Code.
Previous public offices sought/held:
I previously ran unsuccessfully for Judge of Dallas County Court at Law No. 3 in the 2006 Dallas County Democratic Primary.
How much funding have you raised for your campaign?
So far, I have raised almost $2,500.00. Donations by personal check (corporate checks are not permitted) of any amount up to $5,000.00 can be made payable to the "Baltasar D. Cruz Campaign Fund" and sent to: Baltasar D. Cruz Campaign Fund P.O. Box 600823 Dallas, TX 75360 When making a donation, please include your name, job title, occupation and employer, as I need to report all of these on my campaign finance reports. Also, if your spouse is associated with a law firm, I need to know the law firm with which they are associated.
Who are your top three contributors?
1. Terrell W. "Terry" Oxford 2. Kelly Dykes 3. Gerrald Nance 3. Stephanie Nance Bullington 3. Carlos Zequeira
Have you ever been arrested? If so, explain:
I have never been arrested.
Why should voters choose you over your opponent(s)?
I have a wealth of experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of cases and have also served as a court appointed guardian ad litem for minors (to review proposed settlements for children and recommend to courts whether or not the settlements should be approved) in 11 personal injury cases (e.g., in one case I rejected a proposed settlement of $67,500.00, fired an incompetent Plaintiff's attorney, hired a new attorney for the child, and approved a new settlement of $250,000.00; in another case I rejected a proposed settlement of $12,000.00, persuaded the Plaintiff's attorney to withdraw, and hired a new attorney to handle the case pro bono who subsequently settled the case for $60,000.00). As a result, I have represented a wider variety of clients and advanced the interests of children and individuals more than any other candidate for Place 7 on the Texas Supreme Court and am, therefore, better prepared to appreciate the distinct concerns and perspectives of all parties in civil cases in the Texas courts. In contrast, the incumbent has used his position on the Texas Supreme Court, which is composed entirely of Republicans, to pursue an activist agenda of doing away with individual rights and legal remedies in the Texas courts and my Democratic Primary opponent has primarily defended health care providers in malpractice litigation.
In addition, I want to substantially revise the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, The Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, and the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct, all of which are promulgated and amended by order of the Texas Supreme Court and govern legal proceedings in all Texas civil courts, to reduce litigation costs, make the courts more accessible to the public, and prohibit unethical judicial practices which are currently permitted and undermine the integrity of the Texas Courts in the following particulars.
Judges should be prohibited from soliciting or accepting political contributions from parties or attorneys who have cases pending in their courts. (Incredibly, some judges actively solicit campaign contributions from attorneys who have cases pending in their courts!)
All trial courts should implement a submission docket whereby most motions are decided by submission (without hearings) unless a hearing is requested, as is currently done in Collin County -- which will save litigants substantial sums of money and help to expedite the determination of all motions (since there will be far fewer hearings). Under this procedure, responding parties are notified of a submission deadline by which time they must submit any desired response to a motion, after which the trial judge reads the motion and any response and then issues an order. (This will also create a greater incentive for judges to actually read the motions and the responses on which they are ruling -- which it sometimes appears at hearings that a judge has not done.)
Trial judges should be required to read all timely filed motions and responses before ruling on same. (Incredibly, there are judges who do not do this.)
Out of town attorneys should be permitted to appear at non-evidentiary hearings by speaker phone in the courtroom (where the hearing can be heard by everyone) in order to save parties unnecessary travel and litigation expenses.
Mediation should not be automatically ordered in cases in which the pleadings indicate that the amount in controversy is equal to or less than $5,000.00. (Mediation should not be compulsory in such cases because the mediation fees and attorneys' fees imposed by such orders constitute a burden which is disproportionate to the relief sought for litigants in such cases and parties should not be faced with the choice they are currently given in many courts of incurring the cost of preparing an objection to a mediation order and attending a hearing on their objection -- which might be overruled anyway -- or just going ahead and paying a mediator and their attorneys for conducting a mediation. Although mediation orders in such cases do coerce litigants to enter into settlements merely out of a desire to avoid escalating litigation costs, I do not believe it is the role of the Courts to impose litigation costs on parties that are so disproportionate to the relief sought as to coerce settlements. I think it is more important for a judge to reduce the costs of access to the courts than to impose expenses upon litigants which coerce them into settlements.)
When mediation orders are entered in other cases (i.e., cases in which the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000.00) the orders should not designate a mediator nor a mediation deadline, unless the parties have agreed to same. Rather, all parties should be given an opportunity to agree upon a mediator and a mediation deadline in a rule 11 agreement to be filed with the Court or inform the Court if no agreement can be reached. Only then should trial courts be able to appoint a mediator and order a mediation deadline. (Since most experienced attorneys have mediators they prefer to use and file motions for substitution of the mediator when one is appointed by a trial court, this should also save judicial resources since a rule 11 agreement does not have to be reviewed or signed by a judge and the mediation deadline can then be extended by a subsequent rule 11 agreement between the parties without requiring another court order.)
Judges should automatically recuse themselves from all cases in which they are asked to recuse themselves by attorneys who have publicly supported any of their opponents (or who have run against them) if asked to do so by them in a motion for recusal in order to allay any appearance of impropriety or concerns about possible retaliation.
Preference in trial settings should be given to similarly aged cases in which both sides are ready to go to trial, unless a special trial setting has been given to an older case.
The position of cases on every week's trial docket should no longer be kept secret until parties announce ready or not ready for trial (contrary to the prevailing practice of only disclosing docket positions when parties make their trial announcements the Thursday or Friday before trial) so that attorneys and parties can reasonably anticipate when they will be called to trial and parties are not forced to incur substantial expenses in preparing for trial settings to which they will not be called. (This information should be posted on each Court's website.)
Each side in every case should be permitted one automatic trial continuance, if it is requested.
Cases in which both sides announce not ready should not be called to trial unless there are no other cases in which one or both sides have announced ready.
Agreed Motions for Continuance which comply with all Local Rules (e.g., signed by the clients if the cases are over a year old in Dallas County) should be automatically granted.
Judges should appoint guardians ad litem who will not automatically approve all proposed settlements on behalf of children and incompetent persons but who will do meaningful investigations and reviews of proposed settlements on behalf of children and incompetent persons (i.e., their wards) and who will reject settlements if they are not in the best interests of their wards.
Rule 173 Tex.R.Civ.Pro. (concerning the role of guardians ad litem) should be revised to clarify that guardians ad litem appointed to review proposed settlements on behalf of injured minors and incompetent persons are authorized to: (a) consult medical experts if they believe this is necessary to evaluate an injured minor's or incompetent person's damages; and (b) fire and replace Plaintiff's attorneys who have not adequately represented the interests of their minor or incompetent clients. Until this is done, I will encourage trial judges to expressly give this authorization to guardians ad litem in their orders appointing guardians ad litem.
Rule 173 Tex.R.Civ.Pro. (concerning the role of guardians ad litem) should further be amended to permit a guardian ad litem to participate in discovery, trial, or any other part of the litigation to the extent necessary to protect his/her ward's interest without a written order justifying same (as is currently required) because a guardian ad litem cannot anticipate when it will be necessary for him/her to intervene to protect the interests of his/her ward and request a court order permitting same. For example, as a guardian ad litem I once attended a deposition at which the Plaintiff's attorney failed to ask a medical expert the questions necessary to qualify him as an expert and to ask him if his opinions were being given to a reasonable medical probability (the standard of proof required for such testimony) even after we took a break and I told him he needed to do so A guardian ad litem must have authority under these circumstances to intervene and ask questions in a mediation, evidentiary hearing, or trial as necessary to protect the interests of his/her ward without obtaining an order authorizing him/her to do so and should be permitted compensation for his/her work when he is required to intervene in this manner (which is not currently permitted).
Rule 173 Tex.R.Civ.Pro. (concerning the role of guardians ad litem) should further be amended to permit a guardian ad litem to conduct discovery in order to evaluate his/her ward's damages because a guardian ad litem cannot always rely on the adequacy of discovery conducted by a Plaintiff's attorney prior to settlement -- indeed, it is not unusual for cases to settle before any discovery has been done -- and Defendants sometimes refuse to provide documents or information to a guardian ad litem which the Plaintiff's attorney has not previously requested in discovery. (As a guardian ad litem, I have faced precisely this situation, where a Plaintiff's attorney had done no discovery before settling a case and the Defendant's counsel refused to provide me copies of any relevant records necessary to evaluate my ward's claims because the Plaintiff''s attorney had not previously requested them through discovery.)
Trial judges should automatically conduct Batson hearings (to determine whether jurors have been excluded for an improper reason, such as the juror's race or ethnicity) whenever it appears to the trial judge that one or more jurors may have been excluded for an improper reason.
When Batson hearings (to determine whether jurors have been improperly excluded because of their race or ethnicity) are conducted, special procedural rules should be adopted so that all persons who participated in jury selection for the party whose motivations are in question, other than the lead attorney for that party, should not be given the opportunity to overhear the testimony of their lead attorney and of witnesses who have not yet testified as to the reasons why a juror was excluded. In other words, the rule should equally apply to all witnesses in the context of Batson hearings.
Parties should be permitted to submit jury questionnaires (previously submitted to the Court and to which opposing counsel has had an opportunity to object) to jury panels for use in voir dire (in addition to oral voir dire) in cases in which the amount in controversy exceeds $50,000.00.
Parties should not be permitted to agree to excuse attorneys or others from jury duty for cause who have not disqualified themselves by their answers in voir dire (i.e., jury selection). (For example, parties may not simply agree to exclude all attorneys from a jury.)
Jurors should not be permitted to ask questions of witnesses (which at least one current judge in Dallas County permits) because jurors should be listening attentively to the evidence and not thinking about what questions they may want to ask or wondering why they have not been permitted to ask certain questions.
Internet video and audio links should be installed in all courtrooms (including the Texas Supreme Court) so that the public has meaningful access to the courts. Only bench conferences, voir dires (i.e., jury selections), witnesses whose identities would normally be protected, and jurors themselves should generally not be shown.
Judges should be required to disclose on their court websites all political contributions they have received in excess of $50.00. (These donations must already be reported on judges' public Campaign Finance Reports which are filed with the Texas Ethics Commission and/or their local county clerks' offices, but this information cannot easily be accessed by persons who are unfamiliar with the judicial campaign finance filing system and requirements.)
In addition, I believe the Texas Rules of Appellate procedure should be changed to require all appellate court decisions to be published because the current practice of permitting appellate courts to issue unpublished opinions (which may not be cited as precedent) is inconsistent with common law principles and the concept of stare decisis. Appellate courts should simply not be permitted to issue opinions which they are unwilling to have cited as precedent. Appellate courts should also be required to make all of their opinions available on their websites. (Most opinions can be found on their respective Texas appellate court websites but, inexplicably, some cannot.)
The search engines on the Texas appellate court websites should make all cases they have reviewed searchable by reference to the trial courts and judges whose decisions they have reviewed, as this information is not readily available to the public, all state court judges in Texas are elected, and some judges actively misrepresent the number of decisions they have had reversed.
Would you agree to limit campaign contributions from lawyers to $5,000 per firm?
I would support this as a reasonable limit for local elections. However, I think higher limits should be permitted for statewide candidates because it is so much more expensive to run in a statewide election.
What value do you place on precedents? What would motivate you to deviate from a precedent?
Judicial precedents are important because the public needs to be able to rely on established judicial doctrines and interpretations of existing statutes, and it would be inefficient for the courts to repeatedly reopen settled issues. Nevertheless, new or revised statutes often reverse prior court rulings and different courts sometimes issue conflicting opinions which require a higher court to choose the legal precedents they will follow and the precedents they will reverse. Also, advances in technology often raise new issues which are not easily resolved by looking at prior cases. Even lower courts must often decide whether they will follow a precedent from one court which conflicts with a conflicting precedent from another court.
How important are unanimous Supreme Court opinions? What would prompt you to write a separate opinion?
Unanimous Supreme Court opinions are most significant when diverse views are represented on the Supreme Court in question. The current Texas Supreme Court, composed entirely of Republican ideologues who frequently appear to be motivated by their interest in advancing corporate interests rather than by judicial precedent and established legal doctrines, has little credibility regardless of whether or not their opinions are unanimous. If there were greater political diversity on the Court, unanimous opinions from the Texas Supreme Court would carry far more weight. Separate opinions, concurring or dissenting, are necessary when one or more justices disagree with the reasoning of the majority or wish to provide further analysis of a legal issue beyond that which the majority has approved.
What’s the most important quality a voter should consider in a jurist? For example, is it a sense of fairness? Is it an ability to reason dispassionately? Is it decisiveness?
The role of judges is to interpret the law faithfully to the legislative intent and consistent with legal precedent. This requires a scholarly disposition (i.e., a desire and willingness to research such matters) and intellectual humility because a judge must set aside his/her own preferences as to what the law should be, research judicial precedent and legislative intent, and interpret the law dispassionately. Voters should, therefore, look for independent minded, intelligent persons of unquestionable integrity who are not beholden to special interests. In addition, since the Texas Supreme Court is responsible for creating and amending the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct, the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, voters should support candidates for the Texas Supreme Court who support beneficial changes to these rules such as those which I have proposed, which will substantially reduce litigation costs, make the courts more accessible to the public, and eliminate certain unethical judicial practices which undermine the integrity of the Texas courts. These are described above (in response to another question) and on my website, at http://cruzforjudge.blogspot.com/
Writing is an important part of this job. If opinions aren’t clear, the public, including lawyers and lower courts, are left confused. What experiences have you had in writing briefs or opinions? Please describe that work.
I have always been an excellent writer and have frequently been commended on my writing skills. I have written countless motions, briefs, demand letters, pleadings, discovery requests, discovery responses and other legal documents. My writing skills should be evident from my answers to this questionnaire.
Does the court have the right to intervene if the Texas Legislature fails to fund key constitutional responsibilities such as schools, jails and highways? If so, how does the court enforce that obligation?
When a lawsuit is brought and a claim is asserted against a government entity by a person with standing to assert such a claim, courts have broad power to issue injunctions to require government agencies to enforce the law and can hold government officials in contempt if they fail to follow court orders. However, it is not the role of the courts to determine how such mandates are funded.
The perception is this court is tilted toward business. Why is that?
The Texas Supreme Court, composed entirely of Republicans, is unquestionably biased in favor of corporate interests and, in recent years, has pursued an unchecked activist agenda of doing away with individual rights and legal remedies which will continue until the current composition of the Texas Supreme Court is substantially altered.
Does this court have a significant backlog? If so, what would you do to reduce it?
The Texas Supreme Court has a significant backlog which can only be reduced by the hard work of determined Justices and law clerks. I can only promise to work hard and determine if there are any inefficiencies which can be addressed when I am on the Court. The most likely solution is for justices to hire more clerks than they currently have, which may require legislation to increase the court's budget for law clerks.
What is a reasonable length of time for the court to dispose of a plaintiff’s case?
A reasonable time to dispose of a case will depend upon the number and complexity of the issues which are to be reviewed in a particular case. As a result some cases can be disposed of very promptly -- within days if there is a defect in the appeal or in weeks if it involves few and simple issues -- but cases involving numerous complex issues can easily take months to review, especially if there is already a significant backlog of cases. Once there is a significant backlog, delays are sure to follow.
Name one state judge and one federal judge, living or deceased, whose opinions and work you admire. Why do you admire them?
I admire Thurgood Marshall because of his distinguished career as an attorney (which he attained by overcoming brazen discrimination), his work to advance civil rights in general and on the Brown v. Board of Education case in particular (which dealt a severe blow to state sponsored segregation in the United States) when he was Chief Counsel for the NAACP, and his distinguished service on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alan Page is a state court judge I admire because of his inspiring story as an inner city youth who attended college on a football scholarship, went to law school while he was playing pro football, and has had a distinguished career on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
As a judge (if applicable), have any complaints been filed against you to the Judicial Conduct Committee. If so, please explain the disposition of those complaints.
not applicable
As a lawyer, have you had any proceedings (complaints) filed against you wit the Grievance Committee. If so, what was the disposition (unfounded, private reprimand, public reprimand, suspension, disbarment)?
An attorney against whom I had filed criminal charges for viciously squeezing and injuring my arm during a hearing filed a grievance against me for filing criminal charges against him! This was classified as an "Inquiry" and dismissed without requiring a response because the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas concluded that the grievance "does not allege Professional Misconduct or a Disability."
Do you support our system of electing judges in partisan contests? Or do you support moving to a new system, such as one where judges are appointed and then run later in non-partisan retention elections?
I don't believe that judges should be elected in partisan elections nor appointed by politicians. The current system of electing judges enables completely unqualified and even incompetent individuals to run for and be elected judge based on little more than their ability to raise money and promote themselves to voters, the vast majority of whom will ultimately vote without knowing anything about any of the judicial candidates. Only attorneys living within the jurisdiction of the court over which a particular judge will be presiding and who have litigated cases of the kind that court handles should be permitted to run for judge of that court or to vote in judicial races for judge of that court. This will result in fewer unqualified candidates, facilitate the defeat of incompetent judges, and substantially reduce the cost of running for a judicial office.
Because Texas selects its judges and justices through partisan elections, you chose to run as a Republican or a Democrat. What philosophies of that party led you to choose it for this race?
Virtually every aspect of modern American life has been improved by the Democratic Party over the opposition of the Republican Party. The civil rights laws of the 1960s (including specifically the prohibitions on discrimination in providing public accommodations and services, the Fair Housing Act, and the Voting Rights Act), child labor laws, the creation of labor unions, collective bargaining, the minimum wage, the forty hour work week, extending the right to vote to women, Social Security, Medicare, the Department of Agriculture (including the Federal food inspection program), the Pure Food and Drug Act, OSHA, rural electrification, federal aid to education, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Open Records Act are all examples of Democratic initiatives passed over Republican opposition. The Republican Party's shameful opposition to civil rights for African Americans alone is inexcusable. In addition, every Republican President since Ronald Reagan has shown contempt for the laws of the United States, international treaties, and the Constitution of the United States and created and/or exacerbated serious domestic and international crises. Reagan's illegal sales of arms to Iran (in violation of the Arms Export Control Act), illegal arming of Iraq (as reported in Spider's Web: The Secret History of How the White House Illegally Armed Iraq by Alan Friedman) illegal funding of the contras in Nicaragua (in violation of the Boland II Amendment), illegal mining of Managua harbor (a terrorist act which caused millions of dollars of damage to international shipping), support of governments employing death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala, deregulation of the Savings and Loan industry, massive irresponsible tax cuts which resulted in record deficits (exceeded only by Bush I and then Bush II) while hypocritically making unemployment benefits taxable, sharing of military intelligence with Saddam Hussein (including satellite photographs of the region and actual building of a satellite downloading station for Saddam Hussein in Baghdad so that he could directly download our satellite pictures of the region and camouflage his scud missile launchers so that we could not find them when we subsequently went to war with Iraq), reckless teacher in space publicity stunt, tragic military excursion to Lebanon, and subversion of this country's environmental laws by appointing coal mining and oil company lobbyists and executives to enforce our environmental laws and revise our environmental regulations, failure to timely address the AIDS epidemic, sales of national forests to lumber companies, approval of ketchup as a vegetable in school lunches, commemoration of dead Nazi soldiers and SS officers by laying a wreath at Bitburg Cemetery in Germany, attempt to give tax breaks to private religious institutions with racist policies such as Bob Jones University (which at the time prohibited interracial dating), and policy of refusing to timely investigate complaints to the EEOC before limitations periods on discrimination claims elapsed, are but a few examples of Republican policies and initiatives which I still find personally offensive and have reinforced my identification with the Democratic Party. The Bush administration's ill-conceived Iraq policy, which I condemned in a letter published by the Dallas Morning News on February 16, 2003, which violates the legal principles established in the Nuremberg War Crimes Indictment (by conspiring to wage a war of aggression in violation of international treaties and international law and actually planning and waging a war of aggression in violation of international treaties and international law), bombing of civilian neighborhoods in Iraq in violation of international law, subversion of the Open Records Act, violation of international treaties prohibiting torture, employment of secret prisons in violation of international law and international treaties, widespread program of illegal searches without warrants, illegal international kidnaping and rendition operations, policy of undermining U.S. environmental laws (as described in Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.), failure to fund Superfund, passage of a bankruptcy bill which benefits credit card companies and harms consumers, treasonous revelation of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, destruction of government records, and misuse of the Department of Justice to pursue a political agenda rather than enforce laws against discrimination and other legitimate activities, which have been defended and supported by the Republican Party, as well as the Republican Party's repeated widespread efforts to suppress the African American vote and intimidate African Americans from voting, have further reinforced my dim opinion of, and prevent me from associating myself with, the Republican Party while reinforcing my identification with the Democratic Party.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Here is a list of organizations and individuals who have endorsed me in the 2008 Texas Democratic Party Primary, which I will continue to update. If you want to be added to this list, please send an e-mail entitled "ENDORSEMENT" to me at BaltasarDCruz@aol.com and include your occupation, city, and employer or union affiliation (if you want me to post that information).

community leaders and elected officials
Tyrone D. Gordon - St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church - Senior Pastor (Dallas, TX)
Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III - Friendship West Baptist Church - Senior Pastor (Dallas, TX)
Craig Watkins - Dallas District Attorney (Dallas, TX)
Rep. Terri Hodge - Representative, Texas House District 100; Dallas, TX)
Abel Bosquez - Chair, Potter County Democratic Party (Amarillo, TX)
Dwaine R. Carraway - Deputy Mayor Pro Tem, Dist. 4 (Dallas, TX)
Diana Salgado - Chair, Val Verde County Democratic Party (Del Rio, TX)
Tennell Atkins - Dallas City Councilman, Dist. 8 (Dallas, TX)
Sal Espino - Fort Worth City Councilman, Dist. 2 (Fort Worth, TX)
Ronald Hankins - Sommervell County Attorney (Glen Rose, TX)
Joyce Batson - District Clerk of Madison County (Madisonville, TX)
Maria Maldia - Treasurer, Lubbock County Democratic Party (Lubbock, TX)
Kenn Goldblatt - Tarrant County Democratic Party Chair, Precinct #1167 (Fort Worth, TX)
Jeannette Hernandez - Bexar County Democratic Party Chair, Precinct #1078 (San Antonio, TX)
Jesus Salgado - Val Verde County Democratic Party Chair, Precinct #31 (Del Rio, TX)
Susan Shelton - Travis County Democratic Party Chair, Precinct #160 (Austin, TX)

Austin Lesbian/Gay Political Caucus (Austin, TX)
Executive Board of Local Lodge 2210 of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW local 2210) (San Antonio, TX)
Executive Board of Local Lodge 3807 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Union Correctional Employees Council 7 (AFSCME/CEC7 local 3807) (Huntsville, TX)
Hispanic Bar Association of Austin (Austin, TX)
Mexican American Bar Association of Houston (Houston, TX)
South Austin Democrats (Austin, TX)
Southwest Austin Democrats (Austin, TX)
Stonewall Democrats of Austin (Austin, TX)
Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)
Tejano Democrats of Dallas County (Dallas, TX)

other community leaders
Goree Anderson - Chief Deputy, Harris County Constable's Dept., Precinct 7 (Houston, TX)
Adan Ballesteros - Deputy Constable, Precinct 3; Democratic Candidate for Constable, Precinct 2 (Austin, TX)
Ben Bradshaw - UAPP 100 - President (Dallas, TX)
Ed Coleman - Democratic Candidate for Constable (San Antonio, TX)
Dwight Fulingim - Democratic Candidate for U.S. House Dist. 19 (Lubbock, TX)
Kenn Goldblatt - Democratic Action & Working Group (DAWG) Chairperson (Fort Worth, TX)
Mike Hinojosa - CWA 6171 - Legislative Director (Aubrey, TX)
Larry Laznovsky - CWA 6290 Retired Members Club - President (Ennis, TX)
Ricardo Medrano - labor activist (Dallas, TX)
Rolando Medrano - Texas Lottery Commission - North Region Supervisor (Dallas, TX)
Larry Morgan - IAM&AW 2210 - President (San Antonio, TX)
Pete Negrete - unopposed candidate for Democratic County Chair of Burleson County (Sommerville, TX)
Veronica Uriegas - Mexican American Research Center - Vice President (Austin, TX)

James M. Andersen - James M. Andersen, Esq. Attorney at Law (Houston, TX)
Jonathan T. Bickham - Crain Caton & James - Shareholder (Houston, TX)
Troy Brown - Mock and Brown - partner (Burnet, TX)
Eric Cedillo - Law Offices of Eric Cedillo, P.C. (Dallas, TX)
Liz Cedillo Pereira - Cedillo-Pereira & Cedillo, P.C. (Dallas, TX)
Randy Cobb - attorney (Dallas, TX)
Sal Espino - Fort Worth City Councilman, Dist. 2 (Fort Worth, TX)
Luis Feldstein - Berg & Androphy - partner (Houston, TX)
Harry J. Fisk - Law Offices of Harry J. Fisk (Dallas, TX)
Paul J. Franzetti - Epeus Group - Vice President and General Counsel (Houston, TX)
Mayda Gil de la Madrid - Mayda Gil de la Madrid Attorney at Law (Houston, TX)
Ronald Hankins - Sommervell County Attorney (Glen Rose, TX)
Stephanie Harrison - Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. (Houston, TX)
Eric L. Johnson - Eric L. Johnson, Attorney at Law (Dallas, TX)
Leo John Jordan - Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller, L.L.P. (Dallas, TX)
John Kechejian - attorney (Irving, TX)
Nadine King-Mays - The King Mays Firm (Dallas, TX)
T.B. "Nick" Nicholas - attorney (Dallas, TX)
Terry Oxford - Susman Godfrey L.L.P. - partner/head of Dallas Office (Dallas, TX)
Scott H. Palmer - Scott H. Palmer, P.C. (Dallas, TX)
Angelica Salinas Evans - Hispanic Bar Association of Austin - President (Austin, TX)
John W. Stilwell - Law Office of John Stilwell (Irving, TX)
Harry Susman - Susman Godfrey L.L.P. - partner (Houston, TX)
Steve Susman - Susman Godfrey L.L.P. - name partner (Houston, TX)
Scott Thrash - attorney (Dallas, TX)
Craig Watkins - Dallas District Attorney (Dallas, TX)
Kirk D. Willis - Guida, Slavich & Flores, P.C. - partner (Dallas, TX)

Union Members/Labor Activists
Rick Beaudin - UAPP 100 - Treasurer (Dallas, TX)
Abel Bosquez - IAM&AW 1255 (Amarillo, TX)
Ben Bradshaw - UAPP 100 - President (Dallas, TX)
Lou Ann Brown - labor activist (Springtown, TX)
Tony Chenevert - AFT 2260 (Dallas, TX)
Renee Cicero - IAM&AW 2210 (Blanco, TX)
James "Bubba" Fain - UAPP 100 - former President (Dallas, TX)
Mark Freeman - CWA (Grand Prairie, TX)
John Gutierrez - NAOLC (Austin, TX)
Lesa Herring - labor activist (Trinity, TX)
Mike Hinojosa - CWA 6171 - Legislative Director (Aubrey, TX)
Dyan Hutchins - AFGE 2139 - Executive Vice President (Houston, TX)
Larry Knott - labor activist
Larry Laznovsky - CWA 6290 Retired Members Club - President (Ennis, TX)
Robert Mahle - CWA 6222 - Vice President (Houston, TX)
Ricardo Medrano - labor activist (Dallas, TX)
Angela Mejia - Houston Federation of Teachers (Houston, TX)
Joe Minjares - labor activist (Port La Vaca, TX)
Larry Morgan - IAM&AW 2210 - President (San Antonio, TX)
Carolyn Parker - CWA 6290 Retired Members Club (Dallas, TX)
Gilbert Ramos - NAOLC 2309 (Arlington, TX)
Don Roush - CWA 6290 Retired Members Club (Dallas, TX)
Donna St. Clair - CWA (Dallas, TX)
Maureen Samuels - IAM&AW 2339H (Huntsville, TX)
Betty Traylor - CWA 6290 Retired Members Club (Dallas, TX)
Bridget Weiss - IAM&AW 2339H - Grievance Representative (Houston, TX)
Willie D. Wilson, Jr. - GMP 259 (Austin, TX)

other individuals
Goree Anderson - Chief Deputy, Harris County Constable's Dept., Precinct 7 (Houston, TX)
Adan Ballesteros - Deputy Constable, Precinct 3; Democratic Candidate for Constable, Precinct 2 (Austin, TX)
Angie Barrientos - Adelante Solutions - Strategic Consultant (Austin, TX)
Bob Bullard - educational consultant (Glen Rose, TX)
Gail Bullard - Democratic Candidate for Precinct Chair, Precinct #1, Sommervell County (Glen Rose, TX)
W.C. Bullard - Bullard Welding & Fabrication - President (Madisonville, TX)
Tina Castaneda - community activist (San Antonio, TX)
Ed Coleman - Democratic Candidate for Constable (San Antonio, TX)
Judith D'Amico - political activist (Glen Rose, TX)
Elia Davila - retired secretary (Houston, TX)
William E. Dendy - Elite Financial Management - President (Dallas, TX)
Kelly Dykes - Essential Corporate Solutions, Inc. - President (Garland, TX)
Gilbert A. Flores - Democratic political activist (Lubbock, TX)
Dwight Fulingim - Democratic Candidate for U.S. House Dist. 19 (Lubbock, TX)
Eve Fullingim - loving wife of Democratic Candidate for U.S. House Dist. 19 (Lubbock, TX)
Alonzo "Lonnie" Garcia - Texas Dept. of Transportation (Corpus Christi, TX)
Janelle Gartrell - Democratic Candidate for Precinct Chair, Precinct #1, Sommervell County (Glen Rose, TX)
Tyrone D. Gordon - St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church - Senior Pastor
Debbie Harper - web specialist (Glen Rose, TX)
Mike Harris - Quick Lane Manager, Park Place Ford (Dallas, TX)
Johnathon Huynh - Kim Son Restaurant - Manager (Houston, TX)
Clyde James - political activist (Lubbock, TX)
Neil Johnson - Johnson Settlement Resources - President (Allen, TX)
David Kobierowski - community activist (Austin, TX)
Tim M. Lucas (Austin, TX)
Terron McDonald - Avalar Real Estate Associates - Realtor (Austin, TX)
Laurie McElroy - University of North Texas - Assistant Track Coach (Denton, TX)
Rolando Medrano - Texas Lottery Commission - North Region Supervisor (Dallas, TX)
Ethel Moorman - math and SAT tutor (Richardson, TX)
Jill Murawski - Jill's Nail Perfections - owner (Dallas, TX)
Pete Negrete - unopposed candidate for Democratic County Chair of Burleson County (Sommerville, TX)
Marvin Phillipus - Democratic Party activist (Austin, TX)
Tony Robinson - 24 Hour Fitness - Master Trainer (Austin, TX)
Cesar Rocher - Shell - engineer (Manvel, TX)
Virginia Schilz - Democratic Party activist (Austin, TX)
Ballinder Singh - Clay Pit Restaurant - Head Chef (Austin, TX)
Michael Smith - Labor Solutions of Texas - Office Manager (Houston, TX)
Steven Solis - Pic-N-Pac - 2nd Shift Crewleader (Seguin, TX)
Mayra Sorondo - Isla Coqui Puerto Rican Restaurant & Bar - Manager (Houston, TX)
Scarlett Steakley - T3 (Austin, TX)
Sally Totenbier, MA, NCC, ADTR - The Children's Assessment Center - Dance/Movement Therapist (Houston, TX)
Captain Delaney K. Trimble - ConocoPhillips - Pilot/Aviation Safety Inspector (Houston, TX)
Veronica Uriegas - Mexican American Research Center - Vice President (Austin, TX)
Marisol Vega - Isla Coqui Puerto Rican Restaurant & Bar - Owner (Houston, TX)
B.K. Wagner - retired educator (Burnet, TX)
George Wynne - Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (Houston, TX)
Louise Wynne - educator (Houston, TX)