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Brister retiring from Supreme Court

A second State Supreme Court justice will not be on the ballot next fall.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Scott Brister will leave the court for private practice next month, he announced Monday.

Brister, a former Harris County civil district court judge and a former judge on the 14th District Court of Appeals in Houston, opens the door for Gov. Rick Perry to appoint someone to fill the rest of his term. That appointee could then run for office as an incumbent in November 2010.

Perry appointed Brister to the Texas Supreme Court in 2003 to fill an unexpired term. Then he was elected to a six-year term that runs through 2010.

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Brister will stay in Austin, heading the appellate practice for Andrews Kurth. The firm’s news release states Brister will also have a litigation and alternative dispute resolution practice.

“It was time for me to move on and give someone else the opportunity to serve,” Brister said in a news release from the court.

As the story notes, Brister’s colleague Harriet O’Neill is not running for re-election but will serve out her full term. Brister had very little money in his campaign coffers, so this should not come as a surprise. As with O’Neill’s retirement, it is another opportunity for the Democrats.

UPDATE: Perry has more.

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