No change to Baylor cases as new judge appointed

Alan Albright was sworn in as the federal judge of the Western District with his sons by his side on Tuesday afternoon. Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

By Lizzie Thomas | Staff Writer

As former federal judge of the Western District of Texas, Robert Pittman swore in Alan Albright to his new position as federal judge on Tuesday.

Before beginning the formalities, Pittman paused to say, “as your dear friend of over 25 years, it is a great honor to be the one to administer this oath.”

Albright is the 41st judge of the federal Western District of Texas. He said this week he and Pittman are figuring out the transition and which cases each will preside over. They know now, however, that Pittman will keep the Baylor civil and Title IX cases. Pittman will be not spread as thin now that Albright is taking his position in Waco, as he had a double workload in Waco and Austin. The vacancy Albright is filling has been open for two years.

Immediately after the oath, Judge Albright was overcome by emotion as he stood at the bench.

“Well, I’m unbelievably honored by everyone here today,” Albright said as he looked over to his sons and waited to collect himself. “It’s actually a very happy moment.” He paused for a moment and began again, “It’s unbelievable to me how many of you all would take the time to come and share this moment with me.”

Albright said he wanted everyone to know he understood the gravity of his position, and the audience laughed at his remark that the Senate made sure he knew the gravity of the position when they interviewed him.

“The way I see it, I’m just holding this position,” Albright said. “I serve you all. I intend to be the kind of judge that no party ever leaves the courthouse not feeling like they got their chance. I want every lawyer to feel like this is a place that they will be treated fairly and with respect.”

Albright wanted everyone to know that with him as a judge, everyone has a fair chance at justice.

“It’s remarkable … there’s a lot of stuff going on in Washington right now — you may have missed it,” Albright said. “But it’s incredibly important that as a judiciary we’re an independent branch. That’s the thing that’s important to me — that everyone knows when you walk this courthouse, everyone will feel like they got their day in court.”

When local lawyers examined him to see if he was qualified for the bench, they asked what, as an out-of-towner, he would do to get the Waco community to accept him.

“Hopefully within a very short time by the way I act, the Waco community will understand how important it is to me to be the judge in that community. This is what I plan to do for the rest of my life,” Albright said.

Albright said as long as he can walk up the steps, he is willing to judge. He invited the community to walk up and introduce themselves.

“I’d be happy to meet you and look forward to serving you,” Albright said.

Judge Orlando Garcia, chief judge for the Western District of Texas presided over the ceremony and welcomed everyone who traveled to be there. He welcomed Albright into the federal court and position.

“You are very fortunate to inherit a great staff in the Waco court,” Garcia said.

Afterward, Albright said he will be traveling to Austin when he can to be with his two sons, James and Grayson, who are in high school there for two more years. Once his sons graduate, he plans to make Waco his permanent home.