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.
The latest tract by Erwin Chemerinsky, liberal law professor and dean of the University of California at Irvine School of Law, is depressingly familiar. Like his Enhancing Government: Federalism for the 21st Century (2008), The Conservative Assault on the Constitution (2011), and The Case Against the Supreme Court (2014), his new book is a diatribe masquerading as legal scholarship. The usual villains—conservative Supreme Court justices, malevolent government officials, rapacious corporations, racist police officers—are pitted against the wrongly accused, helpless consumers, and oppressed victims of discrimination.
In a prior post, I discussed the Pidgeon v. Turner case, now pending before the Texas Supreme Court, involving a taxpayer challenge to same-sex spousal benefits. Oral argument was held on March 1. The taxpayers challenging the city of Houston’s policy of granting same-sex spousal benefits to city employees were represented at oral argument by Jonathan Mitchell, a former Scalia clerk, former Texas solicitor general, and now a visiting professor at Stanford law school. The city of Houston was represented by Douglas Alexander, a leading appellate practitioner in an Austin law firm whose partners include former Texas Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson. The oral argument was superb, and both counsel fielded numerous questions from the fully-engaged justices.
The disquieting spectacle of three unelected judges (all appointed by President Barack Obama) enjoining the signature initiative of the newly inaugurated President Donald Trump, without even citing the statute—8 U.S.C. section 1182(f)—that expressly authorizes the action they just stopped, has focused public attention as never before on the threat posed by liberal judicial activism to our system of self-government.
Newspapers have dedicated many inches of column space in the course of covering my office’s entanglements with the federal government. So much so, residents might be tempted to believe that pushing back against the regulatory leviathan was the attorney general’s principal, if not sole, responsibility. The truth is, however, that these lawsuits represent but a slender slice of what is entrusted to our care.
The Supreme Court’s fractured decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) required states to recognize same-sex marriage. Obergefell came less than 30 years after Bowers v. Hardwick, in which the court refused to recognize a right to engage in homosexual sodomy. In changing its mind, the Court effectively amended the U.S. Constitution with its Delphic utterances.
TC Heartland v. Kraft: Awaiting a 2017 Supreme Court Decision with Potentially Significant Implications for Patent Litigation
Patent litigation continues to be concentrated in a small number of venues. Of the 4530 patent cases filed in 2016, for example, patentees chose the Eastern District of Texas more than one third of the time (1661 cases).1 In fact, patentees filed three quarters of all patent cases last year in only 10 of the 94 available venues.2
President Trump’s nomination of 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court will be met by fierce resistance by Democrats in the Senate and unrelenting demagoguery from left-wing groups and media outlets. About that there can be no doubt. (American Greatness readers may recall a reference to Gorsuch in my December 22 article, “The Trump Court: SCOTUS Could Stand Some Disruption.”)
Storm-chasing trial lawyers are constantly evolving their tactics. While these efforts have proven lucrative for the handful of lawyers willing to push the boundaries of lawful practice and professional ethics, they have widespread consequences for the Texans being caught in the maelstrom of their litigation tactics.
In 1942, deciding the case of Wickard v. Filburn, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed the wheat grown by an Ohio farmer purely for his own use and consumption—not for sale—to “exert a substantial effect on interstate commerce.” This infamous decision led many to conclude that the scope of Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause is essentially unlimited.
Were the Founding Fathers anarchists? Did the ideas contained in John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, published in 1859, somehow inspire the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787? Does the Constitution contemplate Robert Nozick’s minimal state, presaging his 1974 magnum opus Anarchy, State, and Utopia?
What are the prospects for constitutionalism and the rule of law under President Donald Trump? In my estimation, quite good. Unlike some of my libertarian (or classical liberal) friends, I didn’t quake at the possibility of Trump’s election (as I explained here). His shortlist of potential Supreme Court candidates was outstanding, and his cabinet picks to date have been first rate. Of course, assessing the success or failure of Trump’s presidency will rest on the actions he takes and the pol
Mother Nature can be tempestuous. Florida faces the risk of hurricanes; Oklahoma bears the brunt of tornadoes; states bordering the Mississippi River endure flooding; California is prone to earthquakes. In Texas, the most common peril is hail, sometimes the size of golf balls (or even larger). Hail storms are rarely deadly, but they can inflict substantial property damage, especially to roofs and other exposed surfaces. Increasingly, hail storms in Texas are accompanied by another form of disast
On Election Day, the American people made a resounding call to “drain the swamp” that is modern Washington. Yet on Capitol Hill, we seem mired in the same cycle of complacency: The game hasn’t changed, and the players remain the same. Thankfully, there’s a solution available that, while stymied by the permanent political class, enjoys broad public support: congressional term limits.