On The Merits

When There’s a Will, There’s a Way

The untimely death of pop star Prince, 57, earlier this year was met with shock by his worldwide fanbase and the general public alike. Even more surprising was the fact that the multimillionaire passed away without a legal will.

Posted: 8/31/2016 8:00:29 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for the Fourth Amendment

Tensions between U.S. law enforcement and the public have been running high for some time, culminating recently with several high-profile shootings by police officers and the recent deadly attacks against police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Some police departments have responded by implementing novel programs aimed at helping bridge their gap with communities, including a recent videotaped exchange between a driver and an officer in Halifax, Virginia, that has gone viral.

Posted: 8/29/2016 12:44:55 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

ABA Speaks Forcefully on Harassment of Women Attorneys

At a time when American political discourse seems uglier than ever, it was nice to see what transpired at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association in late August. 

Posted: 8/24/2016 3:24:36 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Litigate Like it’s 1948

Juneteenth celebrates the day that Texas slaves learned of their freedom at the end of the Civil War, some two months after General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in April. Because news traveled slowly at that time, Texas slaves learned they were free long after most other slaves in the Confederacy heard the news.

Posted: 8/3/2016 8:29:54 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Would the Grand Canyon Sue Lake Powell for More Water?

Preserving and protecting the environment has long been a priority in the United States. The nation’s first national park, Yellowstone, was created in 1872 to preserve the incredible natural beauty that captivated its earliest visitors. In time, other national parks – Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Big Bend, and many other familiar names – would join the list of national treasures. Next month, the National Park Service will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Posted: 7/29/2016 9:10:49 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

New York Attorney General Helps Those Who Can’t Help Themselves

Too often those who lack sufficient economic leverage must abide by the decisions of others even when the result is manifestly unjust.  But sometimes a lawyer is there to help.  New York’s Attorney General recently used the power of his office to help a couple of disparate groups affected by the arbitrary decisions of their respective employers.

Posted: 7/14/2016 9:40:32 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Phishing for Lawyers

Email scams have been around nearly as long as email itself, whether it’s someone promising medical miracles in exchange for a “donation” or those inviting you to share in their million-dollar inheritance if only you can pay the “necessary” banking fees. But email scams aren’t reserved for the elderly or uneducated, and instead often target trained professionals, including attorneys.

Posted: 7/12/2016 12:17:42 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

Helping Judges Get Their Due

The disparity between what federal judges are paid compared to private lawyers has caused numerous jurists to leave the bench recently in search of greener pastures as part of a troubling, ongoing trend. Famously, Congress has not approved a pay increase for those serving on the federal bench in nearly 25 years despite promising in the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 to regularly boost their salaries based on cost-of-living adjustments.

Posted: 6/28/2016 7:27:14 AM by Angie Olson | with 0 comments

Can You Hear Me Now?

The public’s access to the U.S. Supreme Court has been a hot topic during the past few years, including the court’s relatively recent decision to abolish “line-standing” and its ongoing opposition to allowing cameras to broadcast or record oral arguments. One trusted and inexpensive avenue inside the nation’s highest court recently faced a perilous future after serving the public for more than 20 years.

Posted: 6/24/2016 3:23:27 PM by Angie Olson | with 0 comments

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

Many people think that presidential candidate Donald Trump believes himself to be more a potential emperor than a candidate to head a co-equal branch of government in a constitutional democracy. Consider his string of comments about the ethnic heritage of a California federal judge who is presiding over a case filed against one of the self-proclaimed billionaire’s former real estate businesses, Trump University.

Posted: 6/8/2016 7:24:27 AM by Angie Olson | with 0 comments

About This Blog

Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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