TCU alumna appointed chief justice
Longtime jurist Ann Crawford McClure ’75 is first woman to lead El Paso’s Eighth Court of Appeals in its 100-year history.
by Saedra Pinkerton
Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Appointed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in October, Ann Crawford McClure ’75 says she has "been overwhelmed by the public’s interest in the historical significance."
For the first time in its 100-year history, a woman now serves as Chief Justice of El Paso’s Eighth Court of Appeals. Longtime jurist Ann Crawford McClure ’75, received the prestigious appointment in October 2011, after almost 20 years of serving the court.
“It is such an honor,” McClure said. “We just celebrated the centennial anniversary. To begin the second 100 years as the first female chief justice is humbling. I have been overwhelmed by the public’s interest in the historical significance. We seldom get a lot of public interest. It has been heartwarming.”
Governor Rick Perry appointed McClure, a Democrat, after her predecessor announced his retirement last summer. Getting an appointment from the staunch Republican governor, especially in the midst of his presidential bid, was no sure thing. McClure traveled to Austin to complete a lengthy application process, and then waited for the governor’s decision.
She received the good news last August and hasn’t stopped since. One of 14 appellate courts in Texas, McClure’s court hears both civil and criminal appeals from 17 counties in West Texas, some of which “have a lot more cactus than others,” she jokes.
In addition to hearing cases, McClure now oversees a $2.5 million budget, handles the court’s appropriations requests and when the legislature is back in session, she will regularly travel to Austin to testify before various boards and committees. All while juggling a re-election campaign since her appointment expires come election season.
In her “spare” time, McClure works to spread her message that hard work pays off.
“I want to be a trailblazer to the women who come behind me because I owe my success to the women who came before me,” she says. “It is really important to reach out to young women and let them know that if they work hard and stay in school, they can fulfill their dreams.”
McClure, a mother of two who balanced career and family life by working from home when her children were small, mentors teen mothers in her community.
“Most of all, I want to be remembered as a good mother,” she said. “I teach (the young parents) about the respect that legal profession imposes on them. The letters I get from these girls tell me that they now believe they can have a life as a mother, obtain an education and have a profession.”