Retired chief justice proud of accomplishments

Equality, technology mark historic term


SAN ANTONIO – From racial equality to improving the Texas judicial system, retired Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson is straightforward.

"We are getting there but we still have a long way to go," Jefferson said during a recent interview with KSAT-12 News.

Wallace said that neither age, economics nor ethnic origin should play a role in whether a person has access to the legal system.

A descendant of slaves, Jefferson said race should never be a judicial consideration.

"Race has no role in how I interpret the law," he said.

Jefferson also expressed concern for the poor.

"There are people who have very serious legal needs and they can't afford a lawyer so we were able to work with the legislature and get funding for indigent services," he said.

Another of Jefferson's priorities while on the high court was keeping up with technology.

He was instrumental in getting the court's computer system upgraded and having cameras installed in the court chambers.

Jefferson said, "Now people can watch our oral arguments from anywhere in the world and the public can have a better sense of what it is the courts do."

After 12 years on the Texas Supreme Court, including nine years as chief justice, Jefferson leaves with a simple message.

"We can do better for people that we are doing," he said. "You can always do better so why not try."

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