By Associated Press - Monday, November 27, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says his top attorney will replace a Texas Supreme Court justice who’s awaiting confirmation for a seat on a U.S. appeals court.

Jimmy Blacklock is Abbott’s general counsel. The governor said Monday that Blacklock will assure another conservative vote on the state’s highest civil court, where Republicans control all nine seats.

Blacklock would replace Republican Justice Don Willett, who President Donald Trump nominated for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Willett is expected to face confirmation by the U.S. Senate in the coming weeks. He would join a court that has been an influential stop in recent years for high-profile Texas laws over abortion access, voting rights and immigration crackdowns.

Abbott says he’ll formally appoint Blacklock after Willett is confirmed.

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