As the Senate begins another round of debates on whether to appoint a Presidential nominee to the high court, the country deserves a continued debate on the proper role of the courts in our republic. During the last Presidential election Donald Trump campaigned on appointing judges who would follow in the mold of Antonin Scalia. In recent times, the democrats have argued that judges should apply something of an empathy standard when interpreting the constitution, creating a sort of living constitution to keep up with the times.
Mark Pulliam writes "to express my chagrin, bordering on exasperation, at the continuing hijinks at UT-Austin under the so-called leadership of President Greg Fenves."
As the President considers a new judge to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy he would do well to remember that the Kennedy seat was supposed to go to Judge Robert Bork, a good man who was unjustly attacked and precluded from sitting on the Supreme Court. Conservatives have long recognized Bork should have had that spot.
TLR spent the 2015 and 2017 legislative sessions working to fix the problems storm-chasing lawyers were creating for Texas property owners. Fortunately, the Texas Legislature passed a common-sense solution in 2017 to make it harder for these lawyers to file unnecessary lawsuits, while maintaining the strongest insurance consumer protections laws in the United States for Texas property owners.
There’s every reason to be alarmed by some personal injury lawyers’ efforts to abuse our courts and cash in on the climate change debate (“Climate Change: A Plea for Leadership and Legislation, Not Litigation,” June 22, 2018). It’s a long running effort dating back to the 1990s but seems to be picking up steam once again.
A prior post (entitled “Who Runs the Legal Academy?”) attracted some much-needed attention from other sites, including Overlawyered.com, Instapundit, and the Tom Woods Show. The governance of law schools, although not a secret, is poorly-understood and seldom discussed. This lack of transparency empowers—or at least emboldens—some of the behind-the-scenes influencers to take unreasonable positions and to pursue self-interested goals that are contrary to the ostensible objective of training students to be effective and ethical lawyers. The result is a dysfunctional legal academy.
Americans are being sold a dangerous bill of goods by those who promise that lawsuits provide a viable solution to addressing coastal erosion, rising sea levels and other challenges associated with global climate change.
The concept of written legal rules—of the law itself—assumes that their content is fixed and ascertainable. The rule of law likewise depends on citizens having advance notice of what they can and cannot do, pursuant to clear, knowable directives. Legal scholars expend enormous energy pontificating about the appropriate techniques judges should apply in the course of constitutional interpretation: textualism, originalism, and so forth. Libertarian theorists argue strenuously that judges must be given greater authority—through “judicial engagement”—over the political branches. Each day, lawyers across the country trot off to court, briefs in hand, hoping to convince a black-robed judge–enthroned behind a raised, magisterial bench—that the relevant legal rules, properly construed, compel a ruling in favor of their client.
Eight months after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, many Texas families still face a long road home. Only 33 percent of home insurance claims have been paid and a staggering 51 percent have been closed with no payment.
In mid-April, a 4-year-old boy was summoned to jury duty in Pennsylvania but was unable to go because “he has preschool that day.” The situation was a light-hearted reminder that 1) errors do happen and 2) some potential jurors do have legitimate reasons they can’t serve. On the whole, however, jury service is a critical component of our justice system and depends on everyday citizens—those us well beyond our preschool years—showing up and to do our duty.
A Supreme Court decision on immigration that was not expected to be controversial instead attracted wide attention upon its release last week. The reason: Justice Neil Gorsuch, the much-heralded successor to the legendary Antonin Scalia, joined with the High Court’s four liberals to overturn an immigration statute on the grounds that it was “void for vagueness,” over the strenuous dissent of the court’s conservative bloc: Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy, and Chief Justice John Roberts.
A Triumph of Textual Analysis: The Texas Supreme Court Tackles the Issue of “Same-Sex” Sexual Harassment
Texas’s employment discrimination statute (the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, codified in the Texas Labor Code at section 21.001 et seq.), like its federal counterpart (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. section 2000e et seq.), prohibits discrimination on the basis of enumerated characteristics, including “sex.” Accordingly, an employer is forbidden to treat an applicant or employee differently because of that person’s sex. Without a sex-based nexus, the employer’s conduct may be rude, unfair, obnoxious, boorish, or insensitive, but will not constitute illegal sex discrimination.
The principle of subsidiarity—the belief that decision-making should occur at the lowest level appropriate to its purpose—is a staple of conservative thought. In fact, it is sometimes asserted that subsidiarity “is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom.” In general, local control is usually preferable to a decision-making process based on larger political units, in which the responsible officials are far-removed from the affected population. Local government officials are typically more responsive to individual citizens than are federal officials; local decision-making enables regional preferences and variations in lieu of stultifying uniformity; and voters can more easily replace an unresponsive local elected official than his state or federal counterparts.
Rarely do challengers of landmark legislation get a second bite at the apple in constitutional litigation. Thanks to some enterprising state attorneys general, however, champions of limited government may have another chance to overturn the signature overreach of the Obama Administration. Six years after Obamacare was initially upheld, opponents of the law (technically “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” or “ACA”) are preparing a second test case, based—ironically enough—on the implausible rationale of the initial ruling.
My law school years (1977-80) at the University of Texas were, in hindsight, close to idyllic. I loved my first-year professors, tuition at UT was dirt cheap, Austin was a wonderful place to live, and I reveled in the “college town” ambience, which was new to me. (Prior to arriving at UT, I had never attended a college football game. During my first year—when the Longhorns went undefeated in the regular season and Earl Campbell won the Heisman Trophy–I had season tickets on the 50-yard line at UT’s gigantic Memorial Stadium, for a pittance that even a broke law student could afford.) The post-game victory spectacle—honking horns on the Drag and the Tower lit up in orange—formed indelible memories.
When I received the March-April issue of Alcalde in the mail recently, I had to scratch my head and wonder how Texas Exes felt that it was serving the interests of its members. I have two complaints. First, the article “Lives on Hold,” by associate editor Danielle Lopez, is a sympathetic profile of three illegal aliens (or “Longhorn Dreamers,” in SJW parlance) who fill coveted seats at UT—displacing Texas residents who are U.S. citizens—and, due to the generosity of Texas taxpayers, pay heavily-subsidized in-state tuition. Despite these benefits, along with perks such as spending a semester studying in Washington, D.C., internships, cushy part-time jobs at city hall, and participation in the UTeach program, the subjects of the profile exhibit little gratitude, but instead display a raging sense of entitlement: engaging in noisy protests, agitating through slick, well-funded activist groups (Jolt, ULI), and stridently demanding amnesty and citizenship.
At the University of Texas School of Law, on March 6, 2018 the student chapter of the Federalist Society sponsored a debate on the impact of race-based affirmative action on Asian-Americans. The speakers were noted UT law professor Sanford Levinson (defending racial and ethnic preferences) and Houston attorney Cory Liu, a volunteer with the organization Students for Fair Admissions, speaking in opposition. The speakers eloquently exchanged their views, before an attentive audience of over 100 persons, for nearly an hour, and then opened the discussion up to questions.
February 13th was the 2nd anniversary of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. Few can doubt the lasting impact the judge had on the judiciary and the country. His death left a choice for the American electorate they seldom have—the choice of a justice nominated by the departing President Barack Obama with the promise of candidate Donald Trump to nominate justices like Scalia. In perhaps their greatest tribute to the judge, the country chose as President the man who promised judges like Scalia who recognize “…the need for a democratic society not to expect the Constitution to make all its important decisions.”