Evelyn V Keyes

I am particularly interested in practical philosophy—that area of philosophy which explores the relationship between moral, social, and legal theory on the metaphysical level and its application in practice under empirical conditions. More specifically, I am interested in what some of the greatest minds in the western tradition have thought about the condition of man, the justification for a state, the ends the state is designed to achieve, the proper structure and laws of the state to achieve those ends, the concept of justice in relation to the structure and laws of the state, the application of the  law through legal reason, and the pursuit of the common good as the universal objective of the laws.

Correspondingly, I am interested in how moral, political, and legal philosophers on the metaphysical level and judges on the empirical level struggle to define and clarify the roles of practical reason, moral values like equality and freedom, and pragmatic considerations in interpreting and implementing the law to achieve individual and social justice.  And I am interested in the concept of a constitution and the role of the structural and normative constitution in relation to the state and the law in general and in theories of constitutional interpretation in the United States and their actualization in landmark Supreme Court cases that have shaped and continue to shape our national identity. 

I am similarly interested in the role of the humanities in education. I see humanistic studies as developing the substantive knowledge and thinking and writing skills necessary to citizens and leaders in a flourishing constitutional republic like our own. I also support complementing humanistic studies with social and hard sciences like economics, statistics, and calculus for future leaders in law, government policy, business, finance, academia, and beyond.  And I believe students should be offered internships and other practical experiences to help them determine where their talents and interests lie and how they may be developed so that they may best contribute to society in the future.


JD, University of Houston Law Center, (1987) cum laude

PhD, MA, Rice University, (1985)

PhD, MA, University of Texas, (1972) (Woodrow Wilson Fellow)

BA, Sophie Newcomb College, Tulane University: (1965), magna cum laude

University of Paris, Junior Year Abroad

Societies & Organizations

American Law Institute (ALI) (elected May, 2006); Projects: Principles of Governmental Ethics (adviser; 2010-present); Principles of Election Law (Members Consultative Group (MCG) 2011-completion of project); Restatement of the Law—Intentional Torts (

Judicial Commission on Mental Health Collaborative Council (2018-present); member Legislative Research Committee (2020-present)

CASA Texas Faith-Based Initiative Collaborative Council (2019-present)

American Bar Foundation (Fellow)

Texas Bar Foundation (Sustaining Life Fellow) (nominating committee 2011-2013)

Houston Bar Foundation (Life Fellow)

American Bar Association (ABA Young Lawyers Division Ethics Comm. Chair, 1989-91)

Appellate Judges Education Institute (AJEI) (Program Planning Comm. 2010-2011)

National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Ethics Committee (2014)

American Judicature Society (AJS) (National Advisory Council 2011-2014; Center for Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee 2011-2014)

State Bar of Texas Judicial Section (Board of Directors 2010-2016; Chair By-Laws Committee 2012-spring 2014; Judicial Ethics Committee 2011-2017, Chair, fall 2014-2016)

State Bar of Texas Standing Committee on Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, 2012-2017

State Bar of Texas Standing Committee on Court Rules, 2006-2012, Chair Appellate Subcommittee 2009-2012, Co-chair Appellate Subcommittee 2008-2009)

Texas Center for the Judiciary (Judicial Resources Committee 2009-2012)

Texas State Bar College (1993-present)

Supreme Court of Texas Historical Society (through present)

Houston Bar Association (frequent member Administration of Justice Committee 2005-2010; 2011-2012; Judicial Polls Committee 2010-2011)

University of Houston Law Review Alumni Board of Directors (2017-2020; 1988-1990)

University of Houston Law Center Law Alumni Board of Directors (2017-2020); (Clerkship Committee (2009-2012); Law Alumni Board of Directors (1990-96)

Rice University Law Alumni (RULA) Advisory Board (2013-2014)

Honors & Awards

Houston Bar Association Appellate Section Honoree 2021

University of Houston Law Alumni Public Sector Achievement Award 2014

University of Houston Law Center Distinguished Service Award 1988

University of Houston Law Center Wall Street Journal Award 1988

Woodrow Wilson Fellow 1965-66

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Delta Phi legal honor society


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