One of Trump’s Potential SCOTUS Nominees Sent a Tweet He Probably Really Regrets

He’s known in Texas as “the Tweeter Laureate.”

Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA Press

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Only one person on President Donald Trump’s short list to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is on record with his support for a “constitutional right to marry bacon.”

That man is 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Don R. Willett, who wrote this tweet as a way to assert his opposition two months before the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. Dubbed the “Tweeter Laureate” by the Texas House of Representatives during his 12-year stint as a justice on the state’s high court, Willett describes himself as an “Extravagantly blessed husband.” But one tweet in his over 25,000 tweets about food, sports, and the exploits of the three children he calls the “3 wee Willetts” might come back to haunt him.

A former “rodeo bull rider” who once called himself the “most conservative” justice on the Texas Supreme Court, Willett won fame in the Lone Star State for his outspoken defense of right-wing values and his activist approach to jurisprudence. “I oppose judicial activism, inventing rights not rooted in the law,” he once wrote. “But the opposite extreme, judicial passivism, is corrosive, too—judges who, while not activist, are not active in preserving the liberties, and the limits, our Framers actually enshrined.”

His staunch conservatism did not go unnoticed, and in October 2017, Trump tapped him to join the 5th Circuit, a designation this bow-tie-wearing jurist said he was “honored and humbled” to receive. But during the 2016 presidential campaign, Willett did not act as if he would ever consider Trump his commander in chief, much less the person who might consider him for a Supreme Court appointment.

There was the time he mocked Trump’s appeal to evangelical voters.

Or the many, many jabs he took at Trump University’s expense.

But the one tweet Willett probably wishes he could take back concerned Trump’s potential choice of a Supreme Court justice. Like a true Twitter Laureate, he delivered it in the form of a haiku:

Perhaps it is no surprise the White House reportedly told Willett after his nomination to the 5th Circuit to “take his Twitter account down & behave himself.” That exile lasted just shy of 48 days. Soon enough, @JusticeWillett was back to his 113,000 followers but restricted his tweets to 8 Mile memes and a shout-out to Texas-shaped corn bread.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend