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Ruel Carlile Walker (1910-1998)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1954-1975

Ruel Carlile Walker was born February 26, 1910 in Cleburne, Johnson County, Texas. His parents had come to Texas from Kentucky, and his father practiced law in Cleburne. Walker attended public schools in Cleburne and began his college studies at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where he was a cheerleader. Two years later he transferred to The University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a B.A. degree in 1931 and then entered The University of Texas Law School, earning an LL.B. in 1934. He earned both degrees with highest honors and served as editor-in-chief of the Texas Law Review.

Following law school, Walker was a legal investigator for Texas attorney general James V. Allred before returning to Cleburne, where he joined Walker and Baker, the law firm of his father and uncle. A cousin also later joined the family firm. Walker was married in 1935, and he and his wife had three children. He became active in civic affairs and served as chairman of the local school board for fourteen years, chaired the Johnson County Democratic party, and was a member of the Texas Democratic executive committee. During the Second World War, he served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Washington, DC.

Ruel C. Walker was appointed an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court in 1954 by Gov. Allan Shivers to fill the vacancy left when Graham B. Smedley died. He was elected to the position in the November election and reelected in 1958, 1964, and 1970. Walker was highly regarded by his peers on the court for his scholarly, well organized, and well written opinions, for his contributions to improving rules of civil procedure, and for his abilities to bring opposing factions together to create strong majority opinions. He retired from the court in 1975 after twenty-one years of service.

Walker also served as a member of the Texas Commission of Higher Education, now the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. He died May 9, 1998 at the age of eighty-eight and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.


J.C.D. III. Ruel Carlile Walker, Memorial, The Philosophical Society of Texas (visited October 3, 2006).

In Memoriam: Honorable Ruel Carlile Walker, Supreme Court of Texas, March 31, 1999.

Ruel Walker, Texas State Cemetery (visited October 3, 2006).

Extended bibliography

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 60, page 19

Additional information available in Texas Bar Journal as follow:
Volume 3, page 177
Volume 17, page 583, 635
Volume 22, page 447
Volume 36, page 1003
Volume 38, page 659, 996

Ford, Jon. Judge Resigns Texas Court, Austin American-Statesman, June 25, 1975.

Senior Justice Walker Quits, Dallas Morning News, June 25, 1975.

High Court Justice Walker Is Resigning, Houston Chronicle, June 25, 1975.