From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 8, 2006
Contact: Margaret Justus, 713-236-0306

Statement from Senator Rodney Ellis on death of Judge James DeAnda

"I never cease to marvel and appreciate how truly wonderful our country is, and through our constitution, the opportunity our founders provided for us to preserve it and make it better."

1925    Judge James DeAnda    2006

The following are statements by Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis and Michael Solar of Solar & Associates LL.P. regarding the passing of their longtime friend, former law partner and Houston Federal District Judge James DeAnda. The Houston native died Thursday at his Michigan summer home of prostate cancer. He was 81.

Judge DeAnda practiced law at Solar & Associates from 1992 to December, 2005 after retiring as the Southern District Court where he served as a federal judge and later chief judge. (see bio below)

"Judge DeAnda was the epitome of humility. He always respected his role as a lawyer, as a judge and as a civic leader. He was never rancorous, but instead always demonstrated a great deal of understanding and desire to work toward the common good. He was a genuine role model."

Michael Solar, Solar & Associates LL.P.

"It as an honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to work with Judge DeAnda. He was a great mentor and he will long be remembered as a Texas Mexican-American leader who fought discrimination in our state's public schools. His courage and leadership will be sorely missed."

Senator Rodney Ellis

James DeAnda

Judge James DeAnda graduated from UT Law in 1950, when there were only a handful of Hispanic law students, and the year the first African American law student, Heman Sweatt, was enrolled. Before law school, DeAnda attended Texas A&M and served with the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific theater during World War II. After graduation from the Law School, DeAnda began practicing with Houston attorney John J. Herrera. In the mid-1950s he moved to Corpus Christi, and through his associations with the American GI Forum, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, DeAnda became involved in landmark cases dealing with discrimination in the public education system in Texas. Those cases include Hernandez v. State of Texas, Hernandez v. Driscoll CISD, and Cisneros v. Corpus Christi ISD. In Cisneros, the U.S. Supreme Court extended for the first time Brown v. Board of Education to Mexican Americans. In 1979 President Jimmy Carter appointed DeAnda to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The judge became only the second Mexican American appointed to the federal bench. Since retiring from the bench in 1992, DeAnda has continued to practice law with the Houston law firm of Solar & Associates and to be involved in the struggle to secure civil rights for all citizens.


(From University of Texas School of Law Archives)

For more information please contact Michael Solar at 713-850-1212; also see today’s Houston Chronicle article: