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Is anybody here happy? Spirits are not good these days at the Constitutional Convention. For one thing, the speaker’s race is affecting everybody’s nerves. For another, debate on the judiciary article got heated and personal. By the time the Observer went to press, several members could be heard at night discussing whom they would like to punch out first if the whole thing comes to fisticuffs. No one knows if it’s a cause or an effect, but consideration of the proposed article on the judicial branch ended in a deadlock squared. Liberals were seriously concerned over proposals to allow the state the right to appeal in criminal cases and not at all happy with what was being provided in the way of job tenure for county judges, who sat like vultures in the gallery throughout. As a result, the sessions exhibited what may have been the weirdest of the weird alliances the convention is becoming famous for. You had Sen. Oscar Mauzy and Rep. Billy Williamson denouncing the same article. You had Rep. Craig Washington actually conferring with Rep. Bill Heatly on the phone. And you had an article actually defeated by the convention. One lib said, “It’s a new game. It’s called, ‘Let’s whip up on the moderates.’ ” That was on May 22. That night, and the following morning, there were meetings in Speaker Daniel’s office, huddles with the tinge of desperation, attempts to put together a package that could draw enough votes to get the article passed. Trouble was, the conferences hacked off as many delegates as the “compromise” article placated. The convention agreed to reconsider the article, but the substitute draft was defeated, with essentially the same unholy alliance voting no. After that, the convention decided to postpone further consideration of the article until “a time certain.” Sen. Bob Gammage took the floor to begin explanation of the general provisions article. “Laying out” the last and most controversial section makes it pending business until consideration of it is completed, effectively nullifying the “time certain” for further argument on the judiciary article. As Gammage pointed out in his opening remarks, “If you think you’re having problems with the judiciary, wait till this hits the floor.” The article as reported from committee \(it was so hot that the committee only recommended that the convention “consider” it, not pass contains 25 sections which have nothing to 6 The Texas Observer Political Intelligence do with one another. Right-to-work, branch banking, right of privacy, environmental protection, the superport you name it, the general provisions article covers it. And floor amendments haven’t even been drafted yet. Meanwhile, environmentalists were lining up to take shots at the proposed language on preservation of resources. At an Austin press conference, Burgess Griesenbeck \(a Sierra Club member and resident environmentalist on the Texas provision, as approved by the committee, is “clearly intended to protect narrow or small special interest groups.” Griesenbeck pointed specifically to the mandate for the state to interest itself in “the control, storing, preservation and distribution of the state’s … water” as constitutional protection for future Water Plans. Griesenbeck said, “Should it boil down to choosing between the Lewis language [a reference to Rep. Gib Lewis, author of the provision] and no environmental language, we would prefer nothing at all.” Gov. Dolph Briscoe has been making discontented rumbles in the direction of the convention. Briscoe is particularly unhappy with three points: language making it easier for the Legislature to override gubernatorial veotes \(requiring only two-thirds of members voting, as opposed to two-thirds of total provision allowing the Legislature to call itself into special session; and a deadline for gubernatorial appointments. Trouble is, changing any of the sections would require a two-thirds vote by the convention. Briscoe has not threatened to oppose the entire draft if the nettlesome provisions are not changed, but he has allowed as how they “would make it difficult for me to support the constitution.” Representative juries Dist. Judge Andrew Jefferson of Houston issued what may be a milestone ruling May 20 when he quashed five indictments in the Houston 12 trial on the grounds that the grand jury which indicted the five defendants did not adequately represent the chicano population of Houston. Lawyers have often argued that Texas grand juries exclude minorities, but Judge Jefferson’s ruling was the first judicial recognition of that claim that anybody can recall. Since Harris County D.A. Carol Vance is planning to seek new indictments, the defendants may have won only a delay of their trial. Though Judge Jefferson’s ruling is stated in broad terms calling into question all indictments handed down by Harris County grand juries in the last decade it is not legally binding on other judges. The five defendants were charged with assault with intent to murder. The indictments resulted from a melee at a demonstration by the Youth Against War and Fascism. The YAWF picketed a Houston synagogue in support of Arabs during the October war last year. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that an old restraining order against intimidation of Valley organizers by Texas Rangers and local lawmen was validly issued. In its 5-3 decision, the court did not settle the issue of whether five state laws which a lower appellate panel overturned should remain in effect. Three of the old laws \(against abusive language, breach of repealed by the new penal code. The other two, which deal with mass picketing and secondary boycotts, will be reexamined by the three-judge panel. Duval County Judge Archer Parr got hit with sentences totalling 30 years imprisonment and $60,000 in fines after being convicted on six counts of perjury. The prison terms are scheduled to run concurrently over a period of 10 years, which would be the maximum time Parr would serve if his appeals fail. Not only that: the state socked him with a bill for $3,810.80 for court costs. In the runoff for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Rep. 0. C. Fisher’s seat, both candidates are scrambling to avoid the union label. Sen.