He was a perfect example of what God's Human Being is suppose to be like.
I knew him just a short while, but was deeply inspired by his wit and integrity. His passing is an incredible loss to us all.
The Lopez family will forever have Judge Justice in their hearts. We are part of the "Doe" family in the Plyler v Doe case. We are forever greatful. Our prayers are with you during this time and always.
He's going to have an honor escort of undocumented Latino baby angels welcoming him at the pearly gates.
Thank God for William Wayne Justice, the greatest single legal conscience of all time. I know in my heart that history will regard him as the Abraham Lincoln of his time. Reviled for the sweeping changes he made in the face of a hundred years of societally accepted inhumanity and wrongdoing, Judge Justice put an end to the literal and figurative practices of slavery and tyranny in modern times- standing alone against millions, never wavering in his purpose, distilling inalienable rights into law with courage and clarity not witnessed in deeds since those of Lincoln himself.
Good man.Brave man. My condolences to his family. Que vaya con Dios!
Sue and family you are in our thoughts and prayers. Having know Judge Justice for many years in Henderson County and later in the courts, I can say he was truly a kind man and a Judge that knew and followed the Constitution. It is too bad that more people didn't have a chance to know him.
..."Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Matt. 7:34
Upon this quote, Judge would end the work day.
I feel privileged and honored to have worked for such a man as he who truly believed in doing the "right thing."
My deepest sympathy to the family.
A man who felt the full burden of judicial responsibility and dispensed it with aplomb. "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in..." Judge Justice carried out the charge given to us by our 16th President as few other jurists have.
I had the honor to hear, meet, and dine with His Honor while I was enrolled at Texas Tech Law School. The year was 1986. He was a genuinely good man with a good heart who had a keen sense of justice for all.
An incredible story of courage. A true leader.
A few years after graduation, I was privileged to meet Judge Justice at a CU Law School "Constitutional Law" seminar. A true hero to anyone who sees the Constitution as a curb on money and power. His voice will always be remembered and his wisdom venerated.
Judge Justice embodied his name with courage and determination. His passing is a significant loss to the jurisprudence of Texas.
With deep regret and respect,
Judge & Mrs. Robert O'Conor, Jr.
A very courageous man who took the intent of the Constitution seriously.
Well done, good and faithful servant.
Judge Justice was the finest example of judicial and social integrity that I ever met. He was a Judge that had the uncanny ability to follow the dictates of the constitution to their just conclusions again and again. He was possessed with a great self-confidence that allowed him to admit an error of ruling and change it if appropriate.I had never seen a federal judge admit error and correct an erroneous ruling of law until I tried a case before his court.The memory of the best named judge in Texas history will always shine a light in my heart.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to hear some of your stories, Judge. You are a hero to so many. May God bless you and your family.
- Kirk Wilson, Austin, Texas
I've always admired William Wayne Justice for standing up for what's right and decent. What a surprise and pleasure it was to meet him at the Y and hear a few of his personal stories. He was a marvelous story teller and a wry wit. We miss him already. 89 years wasn't long enough for such a man.
As a Black girl growing up in Tyler in the 1970s I remember all of the wrongs that Judge Justice tried to make right. I watched his decisions over the years and he was a man that had integrity and stood for justice. May God give his family peace and comfort. May God gives us another judge that will walk the path of righteousness. I am thankful that he lived in my life time.
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
A true Texan hero and a great man.
A fine gentleman and a courageous jurist, Judge Justice will always be admired and respected by all who were fortunate enough to have practiced in his court.
Thank you, Judge Justice, for making a difference in the lives of so many.
Judge Justice was a giant among legal legends. He was a credit to the judiciary and the legal profession. His reputation for courage, fairness and courtesy to litigants and counsel, adherence to the rule of law was and is exemplary.
I met Judge and Mrs Justice in 1961. I was a freshman at Tyler Jr. College and a Marine Corp. veteran. He became a mentor and a friend. He and Mrs Justice were positive role models.
Judge Justice ' legacy is etched in history for the betterment of mankind.
Judge Justice made such a difference in Texas--a wonderful difference that helped people who could not help themselves, people suffering from an unfair and often cruel system. I celebrate his life and am grateful to him and those that helped.
Somebody said once that you don't need many heroes, just as long as you pick them right. Wayne Justice was my hero. It is one of my life's greatest treasures that he was also my friend. My heart goes out to Sue, and Ellen, and Jane. In the good old Quaker phrase, I am holding you all in the Light.
Long time friend from Athens. He gave the eulogy at my fathers funeral in 1991 and said "I'm proud to call Dan Johnson a friend". I'm proud to call Wayne Justice a friend.
I am going to gather all the information I can about Judge Justice to give to my grandchildren, so that they will know what a wonderful hero this man was. He leaves a legacy that we all need to share with our children and our grandchildren for generations to come.
I first met Judge Justice through my in-laws, Jack and Edna Gray Dillard with whom he attended high school in Athens, Later, he and I spent many hours running on the track at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler during my training to become an FBI Agent.
We didn't always agree on the liberal vs. conservative issues but he was a thoughtful person and a kind and good friend.
God bless him and his family!
"Open thy mouth, judge righteously and plead the cause of the poor and the needy. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction." Proverbs 31:8-9
I had the privilege of knowing a great man who did as God commanded and more, with sensitivity, intelligence and grace. Godspeed, Judge Justice.
Terri Kay Oliver
While I may have not agreed with every ruling you made from the bench, you helped bring Texas into the 20th century and made a difference in a lot of lives, including mine. You will be missed.
Two years ago, when my son was born, I wanted to name him for a Texan who was an icon of social justice. Barbara, just didn't seem appropriate for a boy. So, I named him Justus, in honor of The Judge. RIP and deepest thanks.
Judge Justice represented the best of the American spirit of justice.
My first job out of law school was working for the Joint Committee on Prison Reform, implementing Judge Justice's Ruiz ruling. I was inspired then and even more inspired now to keep seeking for the kind of world Judge Justice envisioned. What a great man and Texas is the better for him.
In standing against prison abuse, Judge Justice stood for the innate dignity of every individual, even those whom the rest of society has written off. Thank you for having courage where others fail.
Thank you for your historic compassion for those less fortunate and your long-standing proof that one individual can make life-changing differences for others.
It can rightly be said that you lived up to your name. You will be greatly missed.
Wayne Justice was one of our finest icons of Henderson County. We recall him in all the very best ways. He was one who wished me well when i shoved off - starting a career: TCU in '55.
Thanks! Judge. Patrick H. Beckham
You are a hero to me. I will miss seeing you work-out @ the Y.
I have known Judge Justice since I was a young child growing up in Athens, Texas. I worked with him and his wife in the Henderson County Democratic Party prior to his appointment as U.S. Attorney and later Federal District Judge. He was always a kind, generous, caring, and supportive human being, and those are the same qualities that he brought to the dozens of major rulings and decisions he made in the last 41 years. He is a true hero to me and millions of others. Henderson County and Athens have produced a lot of noteworthy individuals, but, for me, the two most important and effective are Judge William Wayne Justice (Athens) and U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough (Chandler). Judge Justice will be greatly missed, but he has a daughter, Ellen, who has the spirit of both her father and mother - a great combination.
Thomas R. Selman
In gratitude for all that you stood for in life, for all the good that you brought to the People and hence to the world, and for caring for and representing those who had not the power to be heard. You shall be missed. Sincerest condolences to friends and to the Justice family.
Judge Justice was one of my heroes. When I interviewed for a clerkship with him, we spent the day driving around town as he pointed out places that represented progress and those that did not. He didn't offer me the clerkship, but we met many times over the following years at legal and social events. Each time he gave me sage advice and a warm welcome. All Texans will miss his wisdom, wit and courage to change the world. Linda Aaker
I met Judge Justice in the late 60's when I was in the District Attorneys office in Tyler. I followed his career and saw him make tough but right legal decisions, that took a lot of courage. He was a great mentor for the judges that followed him. He will be missed but not forgotten.
Having been licensed to practice law in 1970, I was fortunate to observe, and then participate in legal actions involving Judge Justice over these many years. I was amazed at his ability to thoughtfully consider difficult issues that no other judge would tackle. The great legal mind and humanitarian viewpoint will be missed. My condolences to the Judge's family.
I had admired William Wayne Justice from afar as a champion of justice for the underprivileged and downtrodden in Texas. Then I was fortunate to meet the man in his Tyler offices, when I went to pick up his archives for the University of Texas. Beyond the crusader for justice, I found a gentle, thoughtful, and witty soul. I am thankful for having met him; we can all be thankful for what he did for justice in Texas.
I appeared in Judge Justice's Court many times and we were also friends. He was the epitome of character and integrity. A great man and jurist
We have lost a great man.
Among his many legacies is how he has inspired others to protect and defend this nation's Constitution. I was privileged to meet the Judge in 1979. Even before meeting him, I knew his stellar reputation: he was intelligent enough to understand the U.S. Constitution, wise enough to listen to both sides of a legal dispute, and courageous enough to act to protect the Constitutional rights of all Americans. In the company of this country's greatest role models, he is PRESENTE! (Spanish phrase, meaning "forever with us and never forgotten").
I MISS OUR EARLY MORNING CASUSL BREAKFAST MEETINGS----NONE PLANNED, AT FULLER'S RESTURANT IN TYLER.
I DID NOT ALWAYS AGREE WITH HIM,-----BUT, I ADMIRED HIM AND HIS KNOWLEDGE, OF EVERYTHING, NOT ONLY LAW MATTERS------MAINLY LIFE.
I WAS BLESSED TO HAVE KNOW HIM-----AND, MY LIFE WAS ENRICHED BY IT.
A GENTLEMAN AND A "GENTLE MAN" IS AT REST.
Thank you Judge Justice for the compassion you brought to the legal profession and the justice that you bestowed to the poor and neglected. It was with pleasure and honor that during my term as President, the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas honored you with its highest honor, the Reynaldo G. Garza Award for Merit. My condolences to your family.
I knew Wayne Justice in Athens in the 60s. As I grew older and moved away, I followed his career, admiring the brave stands he took in his attempts (often successfully)to drag Texas out of the dark days of prejudice and discrimination. I ran into him a few months ago at an Austin restaurant and he and Sue were as gracious as I remembered. Comfort to Sue and Ellen.
What a wonderful experience he afforded me as I worked with him in the U.S. Courts. He taught me so much about prisoner litigation and the rights of all people who apeared before him. I often told jury pools that they were to participate in the greatest jury system in the world. He made it so. My respect for this great human continued to grow through the years. His kindness to all people, especially children, is another part of his great legacy. My love to Sue and all the people fortunate to have worked for and with him. Sincerely, Katheryn Hetherly
This judge saved countless lives through his prison ruling...he singlehandedly raised Texas out of the Dark Ages...God Bless William Wayne Justice
I had the special privilege to listen to the advice of the Judge while writing my dissertation at UT-Austin about Texas Prisons and the Ruiz vs. Estelle trial. It was just fascinating to me to watch him "think."
We also chatted about my parents, whom he knew, and my stay at St. Stephen's Episcopal School many years ago.
Ellen, you are fortunate to have the Judge as your father!
All people seeking a chance in life will miss him.
It was my pleasure to know and wait on Judge Justice@Gilbert's El Charro. I've been on both sides William W. Justice made my life better.
The Judge was a hero not only in Texas but for many of us throughout the country. It was an honor to appear before him. He was truly a great judge and a great man.
I was privileged to be a law clerk for the Judge in 1979-80. He was a wonderful mentor and role model. I am glad he was honored while still alive. My sympathies to Sue, Ellen and other relatives, and to the larger family of clerks, friends, and fans. He will be sorely missed.
I never met Judge Justice in person, but I read many of his decisions when I worked as an EEO investigator for several Texas State agencies. I still have the documentary from PBS in my collection of great men. He was a great man, whose decisions helped many of the downtrodden and oppresssed get out of their plight. I know, I was incarcerated at the old Gatesville State School for Boys in 1952, and know first hand the beatings we received. Judge Justice was a beacon of light for many of us who never thought we could rise above the proverty and biases of the time, but he pulled us up by his brave decisions. My prayers are with you in your loss and also the loss for many Texans. He was a great man!!!
My prayers of support and condolence are lifted in your behalf as you mourn the loss of a great man who lived a great life.
Arguably a great judge in issues involving the treatment of minorities, the young, and state prisoners, but never a jurist.
Another time, another place, Old Friend.
Judge Justice was a man who ruled with justice, Compassion and a true knowledge of how to balance the two. After he sentenced my husband to prison his manner of handling his cases inspired me to become a court translator where I had the honor of observing him at work many times. God Bless and Keep You, Your Honor. Your Memory and Legacy will live on always in the lives of the many Inmates and their families whose lives you and the reform you made possible. RIP. To the Family, Judge Justice was a Great Man.
No judge (or justice) anywhere in my lifetime had the capacity for goodness, justice, decency, and compassion that we enjoyed from Judge Justice. My favorite scripture from St. Matthew has never applied more: "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me."
Thank you, Judge Justice.
"Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just." William Shakespeare
William Wayne Justice left this world armed to the teeth.
A man who knew how to use the power of a federal judgeship to change the world for the better. His name says it all, “Justice.”
Judge Justice applied being a profoundly decent human being to the job of being a federal judge. It goes without saying that he was also a wise, thoughtful and inquisitive student of the law. But in a state where power and position dictates outcomes most of the time, he chose to be unpopular and rule for the less powerful person when it was the right thing to do.
ACLU of Texas Policy Director Bernhardt worked for Justice as a clerk, 1999-2000.
“Judge Justice’s clear-eyed understanding of the Constitution not only made a difference in the lives of all Texans, but he inspired a whole new generation of civil libertarians. He showed us the good in our laws, that they were intended for justice and wise jurists could ensure that happened.”
Executive Director, ACLU of Texas
Dearest Sue & Ellen,
My thoughts & prayers are with you. Wayne & Mother were such sweet friends from childhood on. I know they are enjoying catching up with each other as they shine down on us. May you find comfort in the wonderful memories you have of your precious husband & father.
I had the privilege of knowing Judge Justice through his visits to Del Rio. He delighted in telling stories from his childhood and of hearing stories of my Appalachian roots. He had a fierce intelligence, a quick wit, and a huge heart. I shall miss him.
Judge Justice was an inspiration to the judiciary and a wonderful human being. I was privileged to know him and to consider him a friend. He served with honor, and his passing leaves a void that will not soon be filled.
You will be missed for you are one of the few who consistently respected the rule of law and the dignity of man.
I didn't know u personally, but from what I've read it seems u were a great Judge. May memories of ur life live on, but may we all get the know who God is!!!!
Integrity, fairness, champion of the underdog: words cannot convey the life and work of Judge Justice. It was an honor for my family to have known him and a privilege for me to work as a typist on the Ruiz case.
A judge who cared about justice and accepted praise with the humility of great men. Thank you judge.
Judge Justice has always been an inspiration to me. He dragged Texas and the nation kicking and screaming into the twentieth century.
George H. Head, Nacogdoches County, Texas
A fine gentleman and champion of the law. Judge Wayne Justice was a decent, fair and just man who fought tirelessly for the best in American ideals.
Judge Justice was a Texas hero, honoring the Constitution and enforcing the law,and defending the bill of rights. His dedication to "We the people of the United States" is a monument to liberty and justice for all.
A man of great decency and courage.
I admired Judge Justice for his fidelity to the law and to the people, for his intellect and for his constant humility and kindness.
It is my observation that those who opposed and spurned him usually lacked those blessings.
Ron Gleason, Tyler, Texas
You will be missed, and it was a pleasure to have been able to meet you here in Austin, Texas. Everytime I drive pass Westminster, I will be reminded of how much that you've done for people all throughout the state of Texas and world wide. Thank you for standing up for what you believed in and being such a great judge.- "Robert Samuel, Austin Texas"
His leadership and wisdom brought Texas into the 20th century. It was an honor to have met him and for him to give some of his time to tell me about his life and work. A true hero! His oral history is at the Southwest Collection on the Texas Tech Campus in Lubbock.
A man of courage, wit, and intelligence. We need more like him, and fewer tyrants.
Thank you for being such an inspiration.
A true Texas hero, who fought to insure the safety and well being of our most vulerable citizens.
My condolences to the Justice family on the death of Judge Justice. I also offer my gratitude to the Judge and his family for the difficulties they experienced because of the Judge's efforts to provide all Texans the dignity and opportunity afforded by a humane society.
Dear Ellen and family -
Cheryl and I are deeply saddened by the death of your great and good father. I was very involved with him on the medical "solution" side of the Ruiz v. Estelle suit. We were colleagues in the Philosophical Society of Texas as well. As you know, he and your dear Mother were faithful attenders of its affairs.
True greatness passes our way only rarely. With Bill's, I'm reminded of Harper Lee's words spoken by the old minister in "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the end of the trial. Speaking to Atticus Finch's daughter and son - Scout and Jem: "Stand up children, your father is passing by."
And...so he is.
With deep respect and abiding affection -
Jon and Cheryl Fleming
Roger Olien, Austin, Texas
A great man has left us. The oppressed will have to find a new champion.
Thank you Judge, from a Texan whose proud to have studied you.
- Dave Denton