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The final assembly of all U.S. nuclear weapons takes place in the Texas Panhanale. Houston has more oil company headquarters than any other city in the world. The whole state reeks of Sunbelt boosters, strident antiunionists, political hucksters, and new industry and money. \( THIS IS THE LOOK OF TEXAS TODAY and the Texas Observer has its independent eye on all of it. We offer the latest in corporate scams and political scandals as well as articles on those who have other, and more humane, visions of what our state can be. Become an Observer subscriber today, order a gift for a friend, or instruct us to enter a library subscription under your patronage. Send the Observer to name address city state zip this subscription is for myself gift subscription; send card in my name $20 enclosed for a one-year subscription bill me for $20 name address city state zip THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 Even though this Court is hailed as one of strict construction, it is anything but that. It consistently rules in favor of big government and for expanded police powers almost oblivious to the fact that the genius of the U.S. Bill of Rights is to tie the hands of government to the extent that the rights and liberties of the citizens are zealously guarded. History teaches that, when the rights of some are violated, the freedom of all is undermined. Adding insult to injury, and almost out of pernicious design, the Reagan administration supplements the Court action. William Bradford Reynolds, the Justice Department official charged with enforcing civil rights laws, hailed the decision striking down remedial seniority systems as a “victory” a proud piece of doublespeak. Reynolds has ordered a systematic review of affirmative action programs to obliterate even those small gains from the books. IF THE SUPREME COURT is abandoning its role as protector of civil liberties, who will step forward to take its place? Congress has helped to some degree with legislation, especially in voting rights. But the real hope comes from a most unexpected source: those Texas judges who view their duty as that of protecting the rights guaranteed by the Texas Constitution and its Bill of Rights, which is, in many cases, more expansive and solicitous of individual freedoms than its federal counterpart. If they take up the challenge, Texas judges will. be following the example of their counterparts in other state courts throughout the land. Already, the Supreme Courts of New Hampshire, Alaska, Utah, West Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, New York, Washington, Arizona, Oregon, Wisconsin, and California have gone beyond the Burger Court in recognizing rights for their citizens under their state constitutions. Justices Hans Linde of Oregon and Shirley Abrahamson of Wisconsin are recognized pioneers in helping move their courts forward in this newest twist to “states’ rights” and federalism. Texas judges already show promise of taking up the constitutional mantle. In 1983, for example, Judge Joseph H. Hart of Travis County, relying on the free speech and assembly sections of the Texas Constitution, allowed nuclear freeze advocates to, use the inside of the Barton Creek’ Square shopping mall to collect petitions to Congressman Jake Pickle. Hart ruled that, although the federal First Amendment \(by virtue of a Burger Court activity, the Texas Constitution did make such “affirmative grants of rights” to speak, assemble, and petition those invested with the powers of government. Likewise, in 1984, Judge Harley Clark of Austin relied on the Texas equality of rights provision to strike down the exclusion of some 300,000 farm and ranch laborers from the state Workers’ Compensation Act. The U.S. Justices a few years earlier had allowed the federal constitution to permit such an exclusion in New York. The Mexican American Legal Derecently filed suit under the Texas Constitution challenging the discriminatory financing of Texas public schools. One of the litigants, Demetrio Rodriguez, was a plaintiff in a similar federal case thrown out by the top court. State court jury trials in police brutality cases and other violations of civil rights are increasingly common. The trials move quickly and are more streamlined because state law has not devised elaborate immunity shelters, such as good faith. There have also been various appellate decisions construing Texas’ equal rights amendment in favor of women’s issues. It is ironic, with these changed circumstances, that the Texas Attorney General has recently sought refuge in the federal courts, at one time anathema to state officials. Federal procedure allows a defendant, such as a state official or agency, to “remove” a case from state to federal court if part of the suit involves federal law. For example, the Draw ing by Joe Mc De r 10 JUNE 29, 1984