Justice Willett: ‘Young people clueless’ on how our Republic works

Photo of Judge Don Willett (Provided Photo/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, in a keynote address to the Texas Public Policy Foundation Thursday, said more needs to be done to make sure children learn about the government.

“Young people are utterly clueless about the basics about how our Republic works,” the justice said. “More people can name all three American Idol judges than one member of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

In May 2016, President-elect Donald Trump revealed his short list of judges to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in West Texas in February. Willett was among the 11 named.

“Being named alongside them for any purpose is a rich honor,” he said at the time. “They are exceptional jurists, and importantly, over half have served or are serving in the state judiciary, where most American justice is dispensed.”

Texas senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz will take part in a conversation about their agendas in Washington at another lunch in Austin on Friday.

Willett has gained a devoted following on Twitter with more than 70,000 people waiting for the justice’s next meme, GIF or comment on everyday life.

“It’s political malpractice not to engage smartly with people via social media,” he said in an interview with KXAN. “People have a view of judges as these sort of dry, humorless, disembodied brains. But judges, believe it or not, are people too.”