Texas Chief Justice receives national award for judicial innovation


Lorri Montgomery
Director of Communications
National Center for State Courts

Nathan HechtTexas Chief Justice receives national award for judicial innovation

Williamsburg, Va., October 20, 2020 — Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht is the 2020 recipient of the Harry L. Carrico Award for Judicial Innovation, one of the highest awards presented by the National Center for State Courts. The award is named after the late Virginia Chief Justice Harry L. Carrico, who was instrumental in founding NCSC in 1971. The award honors a sitting state court chief justice or justice who has inspired, sponsored, promoted, or led an innovation of national significance in the field of judicial administration.

Chief Justice Hecht was selected for his outstanding leadership during the early stages of the pandemic. He immediately established the National Pandemic Rapid Response Team -- made up of state court chief justices and state court administrators -- that developed practices and resources to help courts remain open, accessible, and safe. Texas led the nation in helping judges quickly move to remote hearings, with Texas being the first state in the country to hold a civil jury trial remotely.

“Chief Justice Hecht demonstrated both leadership and innovation at the onset of the pandemic,” said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen. “As a result of his court’s innovative approach and quick response, remote hearing allowed cases to move forward while keeping court personnel and the public safe. He is a premier leader in advancing improvements in court administration, which has gained him the respect and admiration of colleagues and those who serve in the state judiciaries of our nation.”

Because of COVID-19, the details of the award presentation have not been finalized.

Chief Justice Hecht is the president of the Conference of Chief Justices and the chair of the NCSC Board of Directors. He was first elected as a justice to the Court in 1988 and was appointed Chief Justice in 2013. Chief Justice Hecht has led his court’s efforts to ensure that Texans living below the poverty level have access to basic legal services.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.

National Center for State Courts, 300 Newport Avenue, Williamsburg, VA 23185-4147