James C. Ho is a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Before his appointment on January 4, 2018, he was co-chair of the national Appellate and Constitutional Law practice group of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
As an appellate litigator for over a decade, Judge Ho presented 50 oral arguments in federal and state courts nationwide. He won numerous appeals as lead counsel, including three at the U.S. Supreme Court (Sause v. Bauer, 138 S. Ct. 2561 (2018); Sossamon v. Texas, 563 U.S. 277 (2011); Thaler v. Haynes, 559 U.S. 43 (2010)). He was routinely ranked among leading advocates nationwide by Benchmark, Chambers USA, Law360, The Legal 500, The National Law Journal, and other publications. His decade as an appellate lawyer also included three years of service as the Solicitor General of Texas, the state’s chief appellate and Supreme Court litigator. He won three Supreme Court Best Brief Awards from the National Association of Attorneys General, and he is the only state solicitor general in history to be invited by the U.S. Supreme Court to express the views of a state.
Judge Ho previously served in all three branches of the federal government. On the Senate Judiciary Committee, he served as chief counsel of the Subcommittees on the Constitution and Immigration under Senator John Cornyn. At the Justice Department, he served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and an attorney-advisor at the Office of Legal Counsel. He clerked for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court.
His record of public service also includes appointments as vice chair of the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee in Texas, co-chair of the Judiciary Committee of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, member of the U.S. Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the Northern District of Texas, member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and member of the Continuity of Government Commission. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law, senior editor of The Green Bag, and co-editor of Pub. L. Misc. Judge Ho graduated from Stanford University with honors and a B.A. in Public Policy, and the University of Chicago Law School with high honors. Before law school, he was a legislative aide to California State Senator Quentin Kopp (I-San Francisco).
Taiwanese by birth and Texan by marriage, Judge Ho and his wife Allyson live in Dallas, Texas, with their twin daughter and son.