Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 11, 2013, 8:00pm

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) -- Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Justice Nathan Hecht as the Texas Supreme Court's next chief justice.

Perry made the announcement Tuesday.

According to Perry's office, Hecht's term will start Oct. 1 and is set to expire at the next general election.

He will serve as the 27th chief justice of the Supreme Court.

"I am proud to appoint Justice Hecht as chief justice of the highest court in the state," the governor said Tuesday. "I know Justice Hecht to be a man of the most upstanding character and integrity, with an uncompromising commitment to protecting the interests of the citizens of Texas.

"As the most senior justice on the Court, his dedication to the rule of law and wealth of knowledge and judicial experience will be invaluable as he serves in this new role."

Hecht was first elected to the state's high court in 1988 and is the senior justice on the court. He has won re-election four times.

During his time on the court, Hecht has authored more than 350 opinions.

Prior to serving on the high court, he served as a justice of the Texas Fifth Court of Appeals and as a judge of the 95th Judicial District Court in Dallas County. He also is a former associate attorney and shareholder of Locke Purnell Boren Laney and Neely PC, now known as Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell LLP.

Hecht will take the place of Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, who announced last week he will leave the bench in October.

According to a Sept. 3 news release, Jefferson will retire effective Oct. 1. He has not made any plans, post-retirement, the high court said.

"Chief Justice Jefferson has been an extraordinary and effective leader for the Supreme Court and the Texas judiciary," Hecht said in a statement last week. "The people of Texas are greatly indebted to him for his years of exemplary service."

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