You can learn a lot about people from the bumper stickers on their cars: who they voted for in the last election, whether they believe in life or world peace, and what schools their honor students attend. 

You rarely see cars with bumper stickers bragging about the F students in the family. Not that their parents aren’t proud of them, too. It’s just that they’re proud of them for reasons not yet validated by bumper-sticker manufacturers.

For years, our state courts have been in the position of those underachieving kids whose parents can’t in all honesty put stickers on their bumpers touting the honor-student status of their offspring.

Sure, the citizens of other states could be proud of their courts, but not us Texans. Our courts weren’t as good as everybody else’s.

The worst was report card time. Our courts dreaded report card time, and so did we. We didn’t even want to see what wretched grades they’d gotten each time. We didn’t need to see. We already knew.

But that’s all changed. Something’s come over our courts, and we’re so proud of them we’re about to bust a gut.

Texas was long listed among the worst of the worst in the American Tort Reform Association’s annual report on “Judicial Hellholes.” During a decade of determined effort, however, the Lone Star State moved from the Hellhole list to the Watch list.

Our “loser pays” and anti-barratry laws were two of the more noteworthy achievements of 2011. This year, our State Supreme Court continued the long-term reform trend by adopting the doctrine that manufacturers such as drug companies fulfill their obligations to consumers when they provide information to a “learned intermediary” (e.g., a doctor).

Texas is off the list altogether now. Not only that, but our state is recognized as a “Point of Light,” a place where good things are happening, a model for others to follow.

It’s kind of like being an honor student.

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