Texas for Lawsuit Reform

Political Obituaries

Oct 2, 2011 By Paul Burka

STEVE OGDEN He was the best senator of his time, the most visionary, the most respected. A perennial Ten Best legislator, he chaired Senate Finance throughout Dewhurst’s years as Lieutenant Governor. Most chairman do what just about every other chairman has done–add a few dollars to an agency’s budget here,…

The House runoffs

Mar 25, 2010 By Paul Burka

NORMA CHAVEZ vs. NAOMI GONZALEZ (El Paso) [revised] This is the only runoff on the Democratic side. It has become a proxy fight between TLR and the Trials, like the Rios Ybarra-Lozano race. Chavez is attacking Gonzalez for taking money from Texans for Lawsuit Reform — some 88% of her…

More on Citizen Leader PAC

Feb 24, 2010 By Paul Burka

I wrote about this new PAC, formed by TLR’s Dick Weekley and Leo Linbeck III along with Harlan Crow, on the weekend. In that post, I said: It would really be nice if the founders, who contributed $50,000 each, have realized that Republican primary voters, thanks to Rick Perry, are…

The Gattis-Bius race and TLR

Oct 23, 2009 By Paul Burka

The conventional wisdom is that Gattis is a heavy favorite in this Senate race, and I have to agree. He comes from the biggest county in the district, and he has been running hard for some time, especially in Brazos County, the second largest county. Still, I have heard an…

TLR responds (to my cheap shot)

Apr 28, 2009 By Paul Burka

I received the following e-mail in response to my discussion yesterday of Leibowitz's bill that was a formal re-codification of certain statutes. The bill itself is of little interest. However, it contains a statement of legislative intent to direct the judiciary to read the bill as nonsubstantive. In other words, the courts should not regard the re-codification as changing the law in any way, the "plain meaning" rule notwithstanding. What aroused TLR's ire was this innocent comment that I made about the Texas Supreme Court's propensity to disregard such statements of legislative intent and apply the "plain meaning" rule anyway: So long as the Texas Supreme Court remains a wholly owned subsidiary of Texans for Lawsuit Reform, the Legislature engages in recodification at its peril and should be prepared for the Court to rewrite the laws at will to accomplish the purposes of its sponsors. Sherry Silvester responded for TLR: I am disappointed that you used the same cheap shot phrase you employed in October to belittle both TLR and the Texas Supreme Court. The cheap shot is just as inaccurate now as it was in October, when I first refuted it. Here’s the link to your archive and here are updates which add even more weight to the argument. In terms of “owning the court,” final campaign finance reports revealed that personal injury trial lawyers spent $1.4 million (literally laundered overnight through the Texas Democratic Party) to defeat three members of the Texas Supreme Court. The question I asked in October still stands: “…how can TLR, which is limited to $25,000 per judge in million dollar plus campaigns, acquire this ownership? The people who want to own courts include personal injury trial lawyers like Mikal Watts, who bragged that he virtually owned the 13th Court of Appeals, (Houston Chronicle, 9.5.2007). As noted in the report released yesterday by Texans for Public Justice (certainly not friends of ours), personal injury trial lawyers increased their spending in the last election cycle by at least 211%. Our analysis of 2008 campaign spending revealed that personal injury trial lawyers provided almost 25% of all campaign funding, more than any other business or industry in Texas. One could say that the Texas Democratic Party is a “wholly owned subsidiary of personal injury trial lawyers,” without fear of challenge, but I’ve never heard you make that comment. [OK, I'll say it: "The Texas Democratic Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the trial lawyers." The difference is that Texas Supreme Court is a much more valuable subsidiary than the Texas Democratic Party, which is valueless.] Financial control of the Democratic Party by trial lawyers is unfortunate because it impedes efforts by Democrats to win statewide office. [I don't think that trial lawyers are the reason why Democrats can't win statewide office. I think that the reason is that the Democratic party lost its credibility as an opposition party when Bullock (and Laney) embraced Bush, and the party has not produced a credible statewide candidate since. With the exception of the 2008 Texas presidential primary, Democrats have been demoralized ever since.]

Entergy crisis

Apr 28, 2009 By Paul Burka

Today’s calendar includes HB 3545 by Leibowitz. Here is what the House Research Organization says the bill does: HB 3545 would codify, without substantive change, various statutes omitted during prior recodifications, conform codifications enacted by the 80th Legislature to other laws enacted by that Legislature that did not amend the…

The Judicial Races

Oct 30, 2008 By Paul Burka

I’m going to give you my personal opinions here. Chief Justice, Supreme Court Wallace Jefferson (R) Jim Jordan (D) Tom Oxford (L) The all-Republican Texas Supreme Court is an intellectually corrupt court. By this I mean that it is infused with the appearance of impropriety and inequity. Who you are…