Top News

Don't Thread on Me

Mark Pulliam Sep. 28, 2016, 11:05am

The Texas Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, striking down a state law requiring at least 750 hours of training in order to perform commercial “eyebrow threading”—a form of hair removal mainly performed in South Asian and Middle Eastern communities—has generated substantial notoriety for the court and for the Institute for Justice, which brought the lawsuit challenging the law.

Grounds for Concern?

Mark Pulliam Sep. 15, 2016, 3:25pm

We have seen many examples of an “engaged judiciary” at the state court level, and it isn’t always pretty. Advocates of resuscitated constitutional protection for economic liberties—which were demoted to second-class status during the New Deal with the abandonment of the “substantive due process” doctrine in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish (1937)—often argue in favor of a more rigorous standard of judicial review, across the board, when laws are challenged. This heightened judicial role is some

The Beguiling Myth of 'Mass Incarceration'

Mark Pulliam Sep. 9, 2016, 9:03am

It is not surprising that those at opposite poles of the ideological spectrum generally view public policy issues—and proposed solutions—differently. What is surprising is when conservatives adopt the rhetoric of the Left (along with the accompanying narratives, memes, and canards) regarding a subject as important as criminal justice.

Judicial Rebellion Against Voter ID

Mark Pulliam Aug. 15, 2016, 2:29pm

Like unruly schoolchildren using the presence of a substitute teacher as an opportunity to misbehave, in Veasey v. Abbott, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, sitting en banc, has sent the jurisprudential equivalent of a spitball at the U.S. Supreme Court knowing that the deadlocked Court would probably take no corrective action.

George Will’s Constitution

Mark Pulliam Aug. 9, 2016, 4:10pm

George Will has enjoyed a long career as a public intellectual, an especially illustrious one for a Right-of-center figure. For over four decades, Will’s commentary has appeared in intellectual magazines and newspapers including National Review, the Washington Post, and Newsweek. He has many books to his name as well as a widely syndicated newspaper column, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1977. A Ph.D. from Princeton, he’s also a familiar talking head on television, often sporting a bow tie

Dear Colleague’s Letter of the Law

Mark Pulliam Jul. 26, 2016, 10:22am

Societal attitudes and mores can and do change dramatically over time, but (aside from Humpty Dumpty) the meaning of commonly understood words does not. Slavery, existing at the Founding, was abolished following the Civil War through the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution. Suffrage, which many states could and did restrict to white men (and literate property owners at that), was eventually extended to blacks and women through the 15th and 19th amendments.

The Jurisprudence of Civil Asset Forfeiture

Mark Pulliam Jul. 14, 2016, 11:58am

The Jurisprudence of Civil Asset Forfeiture by MARK PULLIAM|Leave a Comment 3 Hand grabbing money bag The seizure by the state of assets connected to crime is a controversial subject. Asset forfeiture’s proponents—mainly law-enforcement agencies—view it as essential to fighting crime (especially the drug trade), because it deprives wrongdoers of the fruits of their illicit activities.

The Mau-Mauing of Justice Kennedy

Mark Pulliam Jun. 28, 2016, 1:53pm

The cowardice of Fisher II suggests that Justice Anthony Kennedy fears another confrontation by the “Wise Latina.”

A Tale of Two Judges

Mark Pulliam Jun. 15, 2016, 9:21am

Groupthink dictates different treatment of “judicial independence.” Judges usually manage to stay out of the news, but two of them in California have been getting lots of national attention lately: U.S.

The Problem of the Cities

Mark Pulliam May 17, 2016, 8:59am

This column first appeared on Library of Law and Liberty Crumbling infrastructure in Detroit, MichiganCrumbling infrastructure in Detroit, Michigan Ever since people began migrating in large numbers from America’s rural areas to its urban areas in the 19th century, cities have presented unique challenges: sanitation, housing, transportation, education, public safety, and fire protection, to name just a few.

Good News and Bad News on School Finance in Texas

Mark Pulliam May 16, 2016, 4:43pm

The long-awaited decision from the Texas Supreme Court in the school finance case, Morath v. Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition, was issued on May 13, 2016. (The case was argued over eight months earlier.) The court’s jargon-laden 100-page (!) decision can be summarized with this sentence: “Despite the imperfections of the current school funding regime, it meets minimum constitutional requirements.”

Trial Lawyer Fox Running to Guard the GOP Hen House

Mark Pulliam May 2, 2016, 8:55am

In an election season abounding with ironies, one of the strangest is the campaign now being waged by Houston personal injury trial lawyer Jared Woodfill to lead the Republican Party of Texas.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry vindicated at last

Mark Pulliam Feb. 25, 2016, 2:24pm

Outrageous persecution by politicized Travis County D.A.’s office finally halted by Texas’s highest criminal court.

Trial lawyers make a cynical play for the Texas Supreme Court, Place 9

Mark Pulliam Jan. 29, 2016, 9:12am

This is another post on the races currently underway for three seats on the Texas Supreme Court. I have previously written ... about the race between incumbent Justice Debra Lehrmann and challenger Justice Michael Massengale for Place 3, and the potentially confusing race between incumbent Justice Paul W. Green and challenger Rick Green for Place 5. In this post I discuss the race between incumbent Justice Eva Guzman and challenger Joe Pool Jr. for Place 9.