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Texas Judge Accidentally Forces Own Resignation

Judge William McLeod, a few months into his post as a civil court judge, thought he was on solid legal ground when he filed a set of paperwork and updated his website. Turns out he didn’t know the law as well as he thought.

The paperwork was a declaration to the Texas Ethics Commission of his intention to run for the Texas Supreme Court-–a customary step for would-be candidates. But when Judge McLeod updated his website to include his stated intention, he ran afoul of Article 16, Section 65 of the Texas constitution, which considers any declaration of candidacy for another office an automatic abdication of that official’s current position. In the eyes of the law, he had technically resigned as judge.

In a tearful appeal before the Harris County Commissioners Court, Judge McLeod pleaded for mercy. “This is the Texas constitution,” he said, holding up a thick stack of papers during the meeting. “It’s got 496 amendments. It’s over 87,000 words. It’s the second-largest state constitution in our Union, and I’m sorry I didn’t have it down."

Nevertheless, the commission voted to remove him, arguing that his actions created a potential conflict of interest if he ever needed to rule on a case involving the county.

Potential Preaching Angles: Don't be so eager to leave a current place of service that you miss what God has for you today. Decisions should first be committed to God before taking hasty action.

Reis Thebault, “This judge resigned by accident. His party had the power to fix it but chose to dismiss him anyway,” The Washington Post (4-10-19)

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