Fans of El Paso’s 8th Court of Appeals will want to mark down Oct. 12 on their calendars. On that day, longtime Justice Ann Crawford McClure (pictured, left) will be sworn in as chief justice of the court by her friend David Chew (pictured, right), who she happens to be replacing. Chew will retire from the court on Oct. 11 to enter a commercial real estate business in the Rio Grande Valley, he says. McClure will become the first female chief justice of the court in its 100 year history. While McClure is a Democrat, she was appointed to the chief judge spot by Republican Gov. Rick Perry. She says the governor’s office agreed to appoint her as chief justice in the interest of continuity on the three-member court. “I am extremely excited and terribly honored. It’s humbling when you think about it. I started an appellate practice a good 25 years ago. And I liked the judges on this court so much, I never considered running against them. And, when a spot came open, I ran,” she says. That was in 1994, she says, and she was elected the same year as Chew. “It’s a dream come true for me,” she says of becoming the court's chief. Chew also recommended that Perry appoint McClure. “That’s what we asked the governor to do, and we’re very glad that the governor accepted the request,” Chew says. Perry appointed a Republican to replace McClure; he will be sworn in the same day she is. Her replacement’s name is familiar to anyone who has worked in the El Paso County Courthouse. It’s Chris Antcliff, who Perry has appointed twice to El Paso district court benches, only to see him lose in the general election in the heavily Democratic county. Antcliff currently is an El Paso solo who does mediation. “I know I’m making a career out of it,” Antcliff says of his appointments by Perry. Antcliff, who will have to run for election in 2012, thinks he has a good shot at winning the general election this time, as the 8th Court has 17 counties in its jurisdiction, and many them of the lean Republican. “I’m truly gratified by the confidence that the governor has shown in me,” Antcliff says.
-- John Council