An 18-year-old Texan can make myriad decisions, many of which have more lasting consequences than the choice of whether to light up. He or she can marry, drive, hold a job, join the military, serve on a jury, and decide whether or not to attend school, undergo surgery, get a tattoo, or vote. Yet as courts have often emphasized, even in the realm of medicine, the goal of protecting people from themselves cannot justify taking their freedom away. Such a “highly paternalistic approach” must yield to the right of competent adults to make their own choices. To deny these adults the right to choose whether or not to smoke is obviously not about protecting them from childhood ignorance—but about imposing government’s preferences on their lives. [Read More]
In a recent ad,the State Bar of Texas announced that it is accepting applications for an open position on its Board of Directors. As required by Texas law, however, the State Bar is refusing to consider any attorney who is not “female, African-American, Hispanic-American, Native American, or Asian-American.”
On Monday, Greg Gegenheimer, a family-law attorney in Austin, filed a civil-rights suit against the State Bar in the Western District of Texas. Mr. Gegenheimer, a white male, alleges that the State Bar is violating the Equal Protection Clause by excluding him from consideration for the open position based on his race and sex. Mr. Gegenheimer’s lawsuit is being supported by the Project on Fair Representation, the organization that successfully challenged the constitutionality of Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder.
The attorneys general of Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Nevada have filed a lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration's decision to allow the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") to become independent. It is currently overseen by the Department of Commerce. The lawsuit challenges the administration's decision on constitutional and Administrative Procedure Act grounds. Read the press release here and the complaint here.
The Texas Chapter of the Federalist Society held its second annual chapter conference on September 17 in Austin, Texas. The theme of the weekend was “The Separation of Powers in the Administrative State.”
The Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton opened the event with vigor. He led with a well-received quip, stating that he “doesn’t mind living here in Austin, because it’s not that far from Texas.” He then went on to speak regretfully on the number of laws that continue to proliferate, and the incoherency of those laws. In conclusion, he said, “I’ll call agency deference what it is: unconstitutional.” [Read More]
A landmark decision against bureaucratic browbeating has advocates for limited government, free markets, and shapely eyebrows celebrating. One year ago, in Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation, the Texas Supreme Court ruled against a state agency that forced eyebrow threaders to complete 750 hours of training before they could legally work. This decision on a little-known beauty practice is actually one of the most significant rulings in favor of economic liberty since the New Deal. The ruling by the Texas Supreme Court can both defend entrepreneurs from an ever-encroaching regulatory state and reinvigorate a languishing tradition of protecting honest enterprise under state constitutions. [Read More]