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Samuel D. Johnson, Jr. (1920-2002)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1973-1979

Samuel D. Johnson, Jr., was born November 17, 1920, in the town of Hubbard, located in southeastern Hill County, Texas. He served as a private in the U.S. Army infantry during World War II from 1942 to 1945. Following his military service, he returned to the classroom and earned a B.B.A. at Baylor University in 1946. Johnson then entered The University of Texas School of Law, earning his LL.B. in 1949. He was married, and had three children.

Johnson entered into private legal practice in Hillsboro, the county seat of Hill County, from 1949 to 1953. From 1953 to 1955 he served as county attorney for Hill County, and from 1955 to 1959, he was district attorney there. He then became judge of the 66th Judicial District Court, serving from 1959 to 1965. He resigned the position in 1965 to move to Houston, where he became the first director of the Houston Legal Foundation, a pilot program to provide legal services for the poor; he served in the position until 1967, when he became a judge for the 14th Court of Appeals at Houston. He served on that court for five years, until 1973, when he became an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court after running for the seat unopposed.

Johnson served on the Texas Supreme Court from 1973 to 1978. He was reelected to the post in 1978, but in 1979 President Jimmy Carter nominated him to a newly created federal judgeship. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and became a judge of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, headquartered at New Orleans, on October 5, 1979. He assumed senior status on May 10, 1991.

Samuel D. Johnson died July 27, 2002, in Austin, Texas, at the age of eighty-one.


Johnson, Samuel D. Jr., Judges of the United States Courts (accessed March 27, 2007).

Sam D. Johnson Takes Oath As Supreme Court Justice, 36 Texas Bar Journal 93 (February 1973).

Texans Move Up the Ladder, 42 Texas Bar Journal 1021 (December 1979).

Texas Supreme Court Justice Johnson Honored, 41 Texas Bar Journal 1081 (December 1978).

Extended bibliography

Arthur von Briesen Award Recipient, The Houston Lawyer 35 (Winter, 1978).

Additional information available in Texas Bar Journal as follow:
Volume 26, page 827
Volume 28, page 930
Volume 30, page 758
Volume 35, page 337
Volume 36, page 93
Volume 37, page 36
Volume 39, page 936
Volume 41, page 955, 1081
Volume 42, page 211, 1021

Cronin, Carolyn. Sam Johnson Taking 'Personal Touch' to High Court, Houston Post, Dec. 29, 1972.

Associate Justice Johnson Sworn In, Austin American, Jan. 3, 1973.

New Justice Cites Legal Aid Problem, Austin American, Jan. 4, 1973.

S. D. Johnson Carter Choice for Court Post, Houston Post, Aug. 10, 1979.