The Court’s public information officer, Osler McCarthy, just sent the following announcement by email. (There’s not yet a link on the Court’s homepage.)

Texas Supreme Court Justice Scott Brister announced Monday that he would be leaving the Court effective September 7, 2009, to return to private practice with the law firm of Andrews Kurth L.L.P.

Justice Brister has served on the Supreme Court for six years, since his appointment in November 2003. Before that he was chief justice of the 14th District Court of Appeals in Houston, justice on the First Court of Appeals in Houston and district judge in Harris County.

“Scott Brister has served with distinction on this Court. Always current on his docket, always penetrating in his analysis, Scott added greatly to the collegial exchange of ideas around the conference table,” Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson said. “The people of Texas should know that Scott Brister devoted decades of his life to serving them, and did so with brilliance and grace.””

Justice Brister will lead Andrews Kurth’s appellate section from the firm’s Austin office.

“It was time for me to move on and give someone else the opportunity to serve,” Justice Brister said. “I am grateful to Governor Perry for appointing me to the last two courts on which I served, and to the voters of Texas for keeping me as a judge for the last 20 years. I will miss the challenges of judicial office, but even more the colleagues and friends I have served with over the last two decades.”

Brister was the first of five judges who came to the Court during a period of high turnover between late 2003 and mid-2005. With a stable membership over the four years since then, the Court has increased its productivity. “With the Court’s docket in better shape than it has been for many years, it was a good time for me to make a switch,” Brister said.

Justice Brister is a native of Waco and an honors graduate of Duke University and of Harvard Law School. He first worked at the Texas Supreme Court as a law clerk to Chief Justice Joe Greenhill in 1980-81, followed by eight years as a trial attorney in the Houston offices of Andrews Kurth.

Justice Brister, his wife, Julie, and their four daughters, Elizabeth, Susannah, Sarah and Mattie, live in Georgetown.