Houston's Guzman first Latina on Texas high court

October 8, 2009
Houston Chronicle
Mary Flood

Houston judge Eva Guzman will be named today by Gov. Rick Perry to replace Scott Brister on the Texas Supreme Court.

Though the court has had several women and several Hispanic judges, Guzman, the daughter of immigrants, is the first Hispanic woman to take that bench.

Guzman sits on the Houston-based Texas 14th Court of Appeals. Perry made her the first Hispanic woman on that court in 2001. She was elected to the bench in 2002 and 2004. Her opinions have been on a range of topics, and she writes often for the court on family law issues.

She is also a former Harris County Family Court judge, appointed in 1999 by then-Gov. George W. Bush and elected to the position subsequently.

Guzman earned her law degree from South Texas College of Law in 1989 and practiced family and civil law for 10 years before taking the bench.

She was born in Chicago but grew up in Houston. Guzman is the fourth of seven children and the daughter of Mexican immigrants with only some elementary school education. Her mother worked mostly as a cleaning woman.

An adjunct faculty member of the University of Houston Law Center, Guzman has received good marks in judicial polls and is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a former board member of the Garland Walker American Inns of Court.

Guzman is married to a Houston police sergeant and the two often make society columns for appearances at charity events. Guzman was named one of Houston's best dressed women in 2003 as well.

The Hispanic National Bar Association named Guzman “Latina Judge of the Year” and the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas Foundation awarded her the “2009 Judge of the Year” award.

Law enforcement organizations, P.O.L.I.C.E. Inc. and Houston Police Officers Union, have previously named her “Appellate Judge of the Year.”

Guzman, who has a bachelor's degree from the University of Houston, has served boards for the Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates, The Escape Center, Wesley Community Center, The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Houston and the Greater Houston Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Perry can now appoint someone to take over her intermediate appellate court bench. Her term there expires in 2010.

Brister, also a former Houston-area judge, resigned from the high court in September to return to private practice.

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