Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

A few ironies beset our first freedoms in 2009

The five freedoms in the 45 words of the First Amendment are simple enough to list: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. But in 2009 Americans once again found some unique, conflicting and at times ironic ways to interpret or apply those five basic rights.

In Texas, four cities and 15 elected officials cited their personal [...]

Texas students get go-ahead for empty-holster protests

FORT WORTH, Texas — A federal judge ruled late last week that Tarrant County College students may wear empty gun holsters in public areas when they protest a ban of concealed weapons on campus this week.
However, they can't wear the holsters in the Fort Worth-area school's classrooms and hallways.
Clayton Smith and John Schwertz filed a [...]

Texas student appeals T-shirt ruling to high court

The U.S. Supreme Court could resolve a pressing First Amendment conflict and
help guide school administrators, teachers, students and parents in dress-code
controversies nationwide if it accepts the case of Palmer v.
Waxahachie Independent School District.
A dispute arose in September 2007 when then-sophomore student Paul T. “Pete”
Palmer wore a T-shirt that said “San Diego.” Waxahachie, Texas, school [...]

Students lose Confederate-flag purse case in 5th Circuit

Texas public high school officials did not violate the First Amendment by prohibiting two female students from carrying purses featuring images of the Confederate flag to school, a federal appeals court panel has ruled.
The school district in Burleson has a policy barring students from wearing clothing or accessories that display “inappropriate symbolism, especially that which [...]

Revising history: What happens in Texas won’t stay in Texas

Battle lines are being drawn in Texas for a protracted fight over what gets taught in the state’s social studies classrooms. And since Texas has an outsized influence on what goes into textbooks nationwide, the winners could end up writing history for us all.
The opening skirmish is over reviews just in from six outside analysts [...]

Texas court asserts protections for online reporter

Judges and journalists have more in common than they probably realize: They search for the truth every day, they’re never entirely sure who’s lying to them and they routinely publish writings that live forever in the public record.
They also share a significant problem, especially these days: They have a hard time defining who’s a journalist.
Once [...]

Texas court strikes down parts of telephone-harassment law

Parts of Texas’ telephone-harassment law is too vague, a state appeals court ruled recently in the case of a man charged under the law for repeatedly calling his ex-wife.
Prosecutors twice charged Samuel Scott under the state law for harassing his former wife in December 2005 and March 2006. They alleged that he repeatedly called her, [...]

Defendant’s tattoos could be used as evidence, Texas court finds

A trial court did not violate the First Amendment rights of a criminal defendant when it allowed a prosecutor to comment, and a county sheriff to testify, on a defendant’s “Lying Eyes” tattoos during closing arguments, a Texas appeals court ruled recently.
A jury had convicted Michael Lee Wood of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon [...]

Blog: when the majority writes the rules

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When people complain about the growing list of requests for accommodation in
public schools from students and parents from minority faiths, I like to remind
them that the majority faith wrote the rules.
Founded as Protestant-dominated institutions in the 19th century, public
schools never open on Sunday, close for Christmas, and in other ways
institutionalize accommodations for the majority [...]

Use First Amendment freedoms to debate Second Amendment issues

Nobody wants to encourage or invite another campus killing spree like the one in 2007 at Virginia Tech University, in which 32 people died and 17 were wounded.
But does that reasonable concern extend to prohibiting a rally or a flier that promotes the idea of allowing students to carry firearms on campus in self-defense?
You and [...]

5th Circuit: Garcetti doesn’t apply to elected officials’ speech

Is elected officials’ speech more like private citizens’ or other public employees’?
A federal appeals court recently answered this question when it decided a case that arose out of a challenge to Texas’ open-meetings law.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined in Rangra v. Brown that a lower court erred in [...]

Texas court rejects appeal over Bible ordered off lawyer’s table

A Texas trial court judge did not violate a criminal defendant’s First Amendment free-exercise-of-religion rights when he ordered him to remove his Bible from counsel table, a state appeals court has ruled.
Detwonne Monshay Alexander contended that a trial court judge in Lamar County, Texas, committed constitutional error when he prevented Alexander from prominently displaying the [...]

References to tattoo didn’t violate defendant’s religious liberty

A prosecutor did not violate a criminal defendant’s First Amendment rights when he referenced his tattoo during the penalty phase of his trial, a federal judge in Texas ruled recently.
Martin Robles and another man were indicted on charges of entering a home and killing two men in 2002. A Nueces County jury convicted Robles of [...]

Critics slam Dallas developer’s libel lawsuit

When public figures are criticized in the press or in books, they may object or respond, but otherwise they usually take their lumps.
But not Dallas developer H. Walker Royall. He was the subject of a 2007 book criticizing his efforts to get Freeport, Texas, to use eminent-domain laws to enable him to build a marina [...]

5th Circuit brings Texas inmate’s case out of the cold

An inmate in Beeville, Texas, who claimed prison guards retaliated against him for filing grievances by turning on a fan that made his cell freezing cold, can claim retaliation, a federal appeals court ruled recently.
Inmate Juarez Miguel Bibbs filed grievances against two prison officers in fall 2004, alleging that they had improperly entered his cell. [...]

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