“The state has created a system where essentially Dan Morales decides what’s in the public interest, what is contrary to the interests of the state of Texas,” Austin’s R. James George Jr. told Judge Nowlin. “It goes beyond the tobacco case. They’re saying, ‘You say what the truth, what you believe the truth is, and you’ll be fired.'” Supporters of the rider are promising to continue the fightboth in the current court case and, if need be, in the 1999 legislative session. The assistant attorney general defending the rider, James Todd, warned Judge Nowlin that should the rider be declared unconstitutional, more draconian measures would be possible. Todd said lawmakers would likely ban all outside employment by state employees, something he maintained was more clearly within their power. Representative Gallego disagrees, saying such a broad ban is unlikely, but he adds that legislators might be inclined to revisit the issue in 1999. A fully debated statute, rather than a rider added at the end of the session, would carry the extra backing of clear legislative intent, Gallego says. One part of the federal proceeding Gallego does look forward to is a trial on the merits of the rider. Such a trial, the representative says, would give the state an opportunity to investigate exactly how many state employees are consulting for outside interestsand how much they’re being paid. cademia has always received its share of potshots when faculty members take unpopular stands. But the Texas rider is taking the issue to a new level, says Michael Olivas, a University of Houston Law Center professor and general counsel to the American Association of University Professors. “Usually it’s simply a matter of reporting [outside work], but it’s never been a matter of getting it authorized,” Olivas says. Faculty usually provide attestations to enable universities to gauge whether teachers are engaging in work that’s a conflict of interest, or just spending too much time away from their main job. “I think it’s just a completely inflexible and unconstitutional provision, one that actually precludes state faculty from hav ing a significant impact” on state affairs, Olivas contends. That restriction has so far been somewhat limited. Texas Tech’s Frank Skillern stopped his consulting work out of an abundance of caution. Another Texas A&M professor, Cecil Reynolds, wanted to use his expertise in educational psychology and neuroscience to assist, yes, the tobacco industry in its litigation with the state. Both Skillern and Reynolds have filed motions to be added to the ongoing federal court case. The Texas Faculty Association is an original plaintiff in the case, saying all its members who teach at public universities could be hurt by the rider. However, the University of Texas School of Law, which has nine student clinical hasn’t reported any problems with the “1 THINK IT’S JUST A COMPLETELY INFLEXIBLE AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION, ONE THAT ACTUALLY PRECLUDES STATE FACULTY FROM HAVING A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT” ON STATE AFFAIRS. rider. Many U.T. clinics, notes Dean M. Michael Sharlot, are in direct conflict with the state. U.T. runs a death-penalty representation clinic, a criminal justice program, and others that deal with mental health and children’s rights. Skillem’s departure from the incinerator controversy has been keenly felt by the north Lubbock activists; he has nearly thirty years’ experience in environmental and property law and has written two treatises on environmental regulations. But when it came to continued work for All Neighbors United, Skillern felt the opposition could have used his involvement to ensnare him and the law students he was advising in a series of costly hearings. The Tech law school dean, W. Frank Newton, agrees that law students hardly need to learn these particular hardball lessons at this stage of their careers. “The last thing you need,” said Newton, “is for them to be participating in a test case.” Bob Elder is a senior editor and columnist for Texas Lawyer. a_ 67 4,e ti. IMAGINE CRUISING DOWN THE AUTOBAHN WITH 256 HP UNDER THE HOOD, TOP DOWN, FIFTH GEAR, ENGINE WIDE OPEN, SCENERY A BLUR. THAT’S THE FEEL OF INTERNET ACCESS THROUGH THE NEW EDEN MATRIX. Lv47 tveLit? ta_Ke DIAL-UP ISDN ACCESS FOR JUST $18.50/MONTH FULLY DIGITAL PRI PHONE LINES WIDE OPEN CAPACITY TECH SUPPORT WITH A PULSE The Eden Matrix www.eden.com 106 E. SIXTH STREET, SUITE 210 AUSTIN, TX 78701 VOICE: 512.478.9900 FAX: 512.478.9934 Subscribe to the Texas Observer 307 W. 7th St. Austin TX 78701 email: [email protected] OCTOBER 10, 1997 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.