Justice Jane Bland (pictured) of Houston’s 1st Court of Appeals will receive the National Center for State Court’s 2010 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence at a ceremony tonight at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will make the presentation to Bland, who Gov. Rick Perry appointed to the 1st Court in December 2003. Mary C. McQueen, president of the National Center for State Courts, noted in a news release on the NCSC website that the center recognized Bland for her outstanding skill as a state trial and appellate judge and for her commitment to giving back to the community through bar and volunteer work. Gibbs & Bruns partner Barrett Reasoner of Houston, one of the people who nominated Bland for the award, says that Bland has “always exhibited incredible integrity, intelligence and caring about our system of justice. She is somebody who our state can be proud to have out there as an example of our judicial system.” According to the 1st Court’s website, Bland, a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, served six years as presiding judge of the 281st District Court in Houston before taking the appellate court bench and is board certified in civil appellate law and civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. In 2006, Bland, sitting by assignment on the Texas Supreme Court, wrote the court’s majority opinion in Hyundai Motor Co., et al. v. Vasquez, et al. The news release on the NCSC’s website noted that Bland serves on the Texas Supreme Court’s Rules Advisory Committee and the Texas Pattern Jury Charge Committee. As the 1st Court’s liaison to the Harris County Court Facilities Committee, she works on the historic preservation and restoration of the 1910 courthouse opening in 2011. Bland did not immediately return a telephone call for comment.
-- Mary Alice Robbins