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Texas Supreme Court's first African-American justice resigning

(Reuters) - Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, the first African-American to serve on the court, said on Tuesday he plans to resign effective October 1.

Jefferson, 50, was appointed to the court by Governor Rick Perry in 2001 who named him chief justice in 2004.

Before joining the state Supreme Court, Jefferson practiced appellate law with a San Antonio firm. He has not decided what he will do after he steps down, the court said in a statement.

Jefferson's current term runs through 2014.

"I am most proud to have worked with my colleagues to increase the public's access to the legal system, which guarantees the rights conferred by our Constitutions," Jefferson said in a statement.

During his tenure as chief justice, the Texas Supreme Court began allowing cameras for live coverage of oral arguments and requiring lawyers to file appellate briefs electronically that are available to the public through the court's website.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Gevirtz)

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