The courage of Judge Callahan

Judge Tena Callahan’s decision to deny a motion made by the Texas Attorney General and hear a gay divorce in her court last week has been described as on a par with the gutsy decisions made by the late Judge Jerry Buchmeyer.

But there is one big difference: As a federal judge, Buchmeyer held a lifetime judicial appointment; Callahan must run for re-election every four years. It speaks volumes to her integrity and character that she is willing to courageously assert that the Constitution guarantees equal protection for gay and lesbian people.

Judge Callahan is also one of the finest new judges elected in 2006. She was appointed by her colleagues as the presiding judge of the Dallas family district courts after less than a year on the bench.

I have frequently witnessed her in action. She is both empathetic with difficulties that litigants face in family court cases, but also well aware of the many ways in which people try to "beat the system" and avoid their responsibilities. She is an absolutely no-nonsense judge in the courtroom.

Judge Callahan is one of the few judges who truly understands that she works for the taxpayer. She volunteered her court as the pilot for the Digital Imaging Project begun by my office. In fact, hers is the first completely paperless "digital" court in Dallas County.

Judge Callahan’s progressive vision, integrity and principles are saving taxpayers dollars, improving the delivery of justice and making our community a better place for all its citizens.

Gary Fitzsimmons
Dallas County District Clerk

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 9, 2009.
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