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N4 II III, I II la um I I I II I I THE TEXAS sERvER The Texas Observer Publishing Co.. 1987 . Vol. 79, No. 25 December 18, 1987 Copyright 1987 by. Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. PUBLISHER Ronnie Dugger EDITOR Dave Denison ASSOCIATE EDITOR Louis Dubose EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Kathleen Fitzgerald LAYOUT: Layne Jackson CALENDAR: Kathleen Fitzgerald EDITORIAL INTERNS: Sabrina Bermingham, Susan Boren WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Richard Ryan TYPESETTER: Becky Willard EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Schwartz, Galveston; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg; Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Bill Adler, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, John Henry Faulk, Terry FitzPatrick, Bill Helmer, James Harrington, Jack Hopper, Amy Johnson, Michael King, Dana Loy, Rick Piltz, Gary Pomerantz, Susan Raleigh, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Vic Hinterlang, Bill Leissner, Alan Pogue. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Miles Mathis, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods. A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Managing Publisher Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager Stefan Wanstrom Publishing Consultant Frances Barton Development Consultant Hanno T. Beck The Texas Observer paid at Austin, Texas. Subscription: one year S27, two years $48. three years $69. Full-time students $15 per year. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zecb Road. Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Any current subscriber who finds the price a burden should say so at renewal time. No one need forgo reading the Observer simply because of the cost. Copyright 1987 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 28th Street, #105, Austin, Texas 78705. EDITORIAL Ticked Off WE BROWN-BAGGED IT with state Supreme Court Justice Bill Kilgarlin the other day. At the Texas Law Center, across the street from the Capitol and the Supreme Court building, a couple of dozen journalists and the judge sat around an H-shaped mahogany table while jowly-faced personages in framed portraits gazed down from the wall. While the reporters munched their potato chips and slugged down their soft drinks, Kilgarlin served up a buffet of potent opinions on the state of the judiciary here, on the governor and the legislature, and on “distortions” in the media with a few harsh words especially for CBS correspondent Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes. As Kilgarlin “vented all of my spleen,” as he put it, one could almost imagine the personages on the wall to be arching a disapproving eyebrow here and there. For there is one thing you have to say about Bill Kilgarlin: he’s not one to cloak himself in the stuffy canons of the legal profession or in the magisterial mystery of the High Court. He’s a freewheeling judge. He’s a politician with opinions. With Kilgarlin there are times, one senses, when his valor gets the better part of his discretion. Which is not necessarily meant as a criticism. The wise and impartial pose that your average judge strikes is mostly a charade anyway, and Kilgarlin makes little pretense of it. So here he was sitting amongst a couple of TV cameras, several whirring tape recorders and a collection of scribbling journalists, making no secret of his disdain for his colleague Chief Justice John Hill, whose mid-term resignation does not become effective until the beginning of the year. That Hill’s effort to promote an appointed instead of an elected Supreme Court in Texas is misguided would not have been a surprising charge. But Kilgarlin followed it up with a comment to the effect that Hill, a long-time Democrat, seemed to be determined to help the Republican Party and that perhaps Hill will even end up running for office as a Republican in 1990. And here was Kilgarlin challenging Governor Clements, who has criticized the Supreme Court justices for taking large campaign contributions. “When Bill Clements talks to you about the evils of taking money, ask him about Bum Bright and $1 million and the Texas A&M Board of Regents,” he said, implying that Clements’s 1981 appointment of Bright to the A&M board was a result of Bright’s contributions to the governor’s 1978 campaign. “And now I notice little Mike Toomey’s got to get into the act, too,” Kilgarlin said derisively, referring to a Houston Republican state Representative who has called on Kilgarlin and two other Supreme Court Toomey had made his comments in the wake of the December 6 airing of CBS’s 60 Minutes, which featured a segment about the Texas judiciary entitled “Justice For Sale?” It was this 60 Minutes report that drew some of Kilgarlin’s strongest fire. “It was slanted, but then what do you expect?” he said. Kilgarlin was mentioned in the report as one of two High Court justices who had been “rebuked” for questionable ethics by the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct. 2 DECEMBER 18, 1987