Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Who is James Ho?

James Ho is President Trump’s nominee to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from Texas.

Age: 44 (approximate)

Current Position: Partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Dallas, TX)


  • B.A., Stanford University (1995), with honors

  • J.D., University of Chicago (1999), high honors; Order of the Coif; Editor, University of Chicago Law Review

Judicial Clerkships: Judge Jerry Smith, U.S. Court Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (1999-2000); Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court of the United States (2005-2006)


  • 2000-2001; 2006-2008: Associate and Of Counsel, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Dallas, TX)

  • 2001-2003: Attorney Advisor, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.)

  • 2003-2005: Chief Counsel, Senator John Cornyn, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (Washington, D.C.)

  • 2008-2010: Solicitor General of Texas, Office of the Attorney General of Texas (Austin, TX)

  • 2010-present: Partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Dallas, TX)

Notable Matters:

  • As a partner and co-chair of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s Appellate and Constitutional Law practice group, Mr. Ho’s practice focuses on complex appellate, constitutional and business litigation. Mr. Ho has presented over 45 oral arguments in federal and state courts nationwide, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and over 25 arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Texas Supreme Court.

  • Mr. Ho helped lead the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the first year of the George W. Bush Administration. He also served as an attorney-advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel, counseling the White House and other Administration officials on constitutional and other complex legal issues.

  • As the Solicitor General of Texas, Mr. Ho earned the highest win rate of any Texas solicitor general before the U.S. Supreme Court, and won two Best Brief Awards from the National Association of Attorneys General.

Professional Associations: Mr. Ho is co-chair of the Judiciary Committee of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. He is also vice-chair of the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee, which evaluates appointments to the federal bench and U.S. Attorney in Texas. He has previously served on the U.S. Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the Northern District of Texas, the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society Board of Trustees, the Continuity of Government Commission, and the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Awards: For his service at the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, Mr. Ho was awarded the Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Mr. Ho has also been named as a leading appellate lawyer by The Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500, Texas Super Lawyers, and D Magazine.

Biographical Notes: Mr. Ho was born in Taiwan and is the first Asian-American Solicitor General of Texas. He is married and has a twin son and daughter.


Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

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