Top News

Texas Political Prosecution; Another dubious case against a politician who riled the status quo

Opinion Aug. 21, 2017, 8:40am

Texas has a history of politicized prosecutions that attempt to destroy careers only to be thrown out of court. Think Tom DeLay and Rick Perry. The latest target is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and on inspection the evidence and legal process against him so far look equally dubious.

How FACT Act would bring transparency to asbestos claims

John Brieden and Morgan Little Aug. 14, 2017, 1:30pm

Most Americans have seen those TV ads touting “billions of dollars” set aside for victims of mesothelioma, the lethal cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Few realize that these funds are also at the center of a national controversy that disproportionately affects military veterans.

Gavel to Gavel: Patent venue statute reinterpreted

Kim Tran Aug. 10, 2017, 11:06am

In June the Supreme Court issued a decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Food Group Brands that might lead one to believe that the Eastern District of Texas will no longer be the go-to district for patent infringement claims, and companies facing what they believe to be frivolous claims against them will not be forced to defend themselves outside of their home state. But the long-term effect of TC Heartland is still unclear. In TC Heartland, the Supreme Court held that “[residence]” under 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), the patent specific venue statute that determines where a suit can be filed, refers only to the state of incorporation for domestic corporations.

Leaving Lochner Behind

Mark Pulliam Aug. 8, 2017, 5:09pm

What prompts a man to change his mind on a serious matter after 35 years, and should the reversal be met with pride (for eventually getting it right), or chagrin (for taking so long)? For reasons of vanity, I’m going to take a positive tack and choose the former.

District Courts Disagree on Venue-Waiver Issues After TC Heartland

Snell & Wilmer Jul. 28, 2017, 9:22am

At the end of May this year, the Supreme Court unanimously clarified the law on venue in patent infringement lawsuits (see here). For 27 years, litigants had relied on a Federal Circuit decision, VE Holding Corp. v. Johnson Gas Appliance Co. (1990), that allowed patent owners to file suit virtually anywhere an infringing product was sold. In TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, the Supreme Court limited venue, and district courts are reaching different conclusions about whether litigants have waived venue arguments by not asserting them before TC Heartland.

Americans with Disabilities Act: An Epic Tragedy of Good Intentions

Mark Pulliam Jul. 27, 2017, 9:09am

Looking back at the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed by Congress in 1990[1], one has to be struck by the extent to which the ADA’s lofty sentiments have been overwhelmed by its adverse results. If it’s true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the ADA is a veritable Autobahn of wishful thinking gone awry. Yet no one seems inclined to reroute the ill-fated traffic; some states are even widening the highway with additional lanes.

Abbott: Local Property Tax Burden Is Crushing The Texas Dream

Gov. Greg Abbott Jul. 26, 2017, 11:19am

Everything is bigger in Texas - including, unfortunately, your property tax rate. In fact, Texas has one of the highest effective real estate tax rates in the nation. Only Illinois and New Jersey beat us. Let that sink in. Illinois. And New Jersey. That's unacceptable.

Governor Greg Abbott: Forced Annexation Is Un-Texan

Gov. Greg Abbott Jul. 26, 2017, 9:33am

Forced annexation by cities — without a vote by the impacted property owners — is piracy by government, a tyranny of taxation without representation that would have made old King George proud.

Judicially Supervised Plunder

Mark Pulliam Jul. 18, 2017, 10:15am

The unexpected retirement of Judge Janice Rogers Brown, 68, from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will trigger a well-deserved celebration of her extraordinary judicial career, both as a federal appellate judge (since 2005) and previously as a member of the California Supreme Court (1996 to 2005). It will be difficult for President Donald Trump to appoint a replacement that comes anywhere close to filling the shoes of the of the forceful, fearless, and independent Brown, whose nomination by President George W. Bush to the nation’s second most influential court in 2003 was delayed for two years by Democratic opposition.Despite a filibuster in the U.S. Senate, Brown was ultimately confirmed in 2005 by a 56 to 43 vote, when the so-called Gang of 14 reached an agreement to avoid Republicans’ invocation of the “nuclear option.” Hopefully, Brown will continue to serve on the D.C. Circuit as a judge with “senior status.”

Selective Outrage

Mark Pulliam Jul. 7, 2017, 2:11pm

Is Sen. Kamala Harris the victim of partisan politics, or its savvy practitioner and beneficiary?

It's Time to Modernize NAFTA and Texas Knows How

U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz Jul. 7, 2017, 10:02am

When the North American Free Trade Agreement was enacted 23 years ago, an economic surge in Texas ensued thanks, in part, to a significant boost in trade with our neighbor to the south. Today, more than 380,000 Texas jobs hinge on free trade with Mexico. Agreements like NAFTA have strengthened our state's economy as a whole, too. More than a third of total goods, worth $92 billion, are exported from Texas to Mexico annually.

Lee, Cruz: In Trump era, it's time to reassess Western Hemisphere alliances

U.S. Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz Jul. 7, 2017, 9:47am

As citizens of the United States, we recognize the rights of foreign peoples to live and govern themselves as they see fit. Just as the American people would not tolerate another nation dictating to us how to run our country, we believe other people should be able to make their own laws free from outside interference.

The ADA Litigation Monster

Mark Pulliam Jun. 14, 2017, 2:32pm

A landmark law to protect the disabled has spawned senseless mandates, abusive lawsuits, and stratospheric costs.

Texas Supreme Court -- Model of Judicial Integrity, Unlike California

Mark Pulliam Jun. 13, 2017, 8:55am

The Texas Supreme Court has a unique structure, reflecting the state’s stubbornly independent-minded culture. Most state supreme courts have jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases and have seven (or fewer) members, who are appointed by the governor and face the voters — if at all — only for periodic “retention” elections. The Texas Supreme Court, in contrast, hears only civil appeals (criminal cases are decided by the co-equal Texas Court of Criminal Appeals) and has nine members, all of whom are subject to statewide partisan elections. The last feature is quite unusual; only seven states select judges in this manner. Despite this distinctive design, the Texas Supreme Court succeeds at steering a steady jurisprudential course in a cautious, low-key style.

Fake Law by Fake Judges

Mark Pulliam May 27, 2017, 2:33pm

Brazen judges openly legislating from the bench are confirming the widely-held public perception that activist courts are out of control. As a lawyer practicing for three decades in the plaintiff-friendly stronghold of California, within the jurisdiction of the notorious Ninth Circuit, I witnessed many instances of judges—state and federal—slanting their decisions against disfavored parties, such as insurance companies, corporate employers, and deep-pocketed defendants.

Celebrating 100 Years of Ellington Field

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn May 25, 2017, 3:01pm

A lot has changed in Houston, Texas over the past 100 years. For one, the city’s population is now about seventeen times what it was in 1917. We’ve found better ways to beat the year-round heat than 300-pound blocks of ice, thankfully. And you don’t see too many horses and buggies riding down Houston’s Westheimer Road anymore. But one institution that has stood the test of time, and is still up-and-running on its 100th anniversary this month, is Houston’s Ellington Field--and you could say its history is the story of a lifetime.

Lone Star Lilliput

Mark Pulliam May 16, 2017, 3:00pm

Complacent Texas taxpayers have become captives of their rent-seeking civil servants.

Plain Talk about Law School Rot

Mark Pulliam May 7, 2017, 12:27pm

The legal academy is a strange place. It differs from other intellectual disciplines in that legal scholarship is published mainly in student-edited law reviews, not peer-reviewed journals. Most faculty members at elite law schools have never practiced law, or have done so only briefly and usually without professional distinction. The curricula at many of the nation’s law schools are larded with trendy courses devoted to identity politics and social issues du jour. Elite law schools eschew the teaching of “nuts and bolts” fundamentals, deriding such practical instruction as resembling a “trade school.”

Blended learning in a 21st-century classroom

State Sen. Larry Taylor May 1, 2017, 1:36pm

In the early 1980s, students in a high school classroom banged away at IBM Selectric typewriters while a few others across the hall shared time on a Commodore 64 personal computer.

Hail yes, lawsuit reform protects consumers

Hazel Meaux Apr. 27, 2017, 11:09am

First, we get hit with high-intensity storms that pummeled parts of our state in previous weeks with large hail. Next, we get soaked by storm-chasing personal injury lawyers looking to line their pockets. Texas is taking a pounding, and it’s time for the Texas Legislature to do their part to stop it. Since we can’t control the weather, let’s tackle abusive hail storm lawsuits and enact smart reforms.