Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Appellate Advocate Spotlights Religious Freedom Case, plus Antebellum Civil Rights for Blacks in Texas

Via the Texas Appellate Law Blog, the Fall/Winter/Spring issues of the State Bar's Appellate Advocate are now online. Readers may be particularly interested in a neat historical article by Robert Gilbreath describing:
how the antebellum [Texas] supreme court took pains to protect the civil rights of African Americans within the constraints imposed by the system of slavery and to learn about George Paschal, the court’s iconoclastic, shotgun-toting official reporter.
Those with an interest should also see the Advocate's recent Texas Criminal Appellate Updates here, here, and here from Alan Curry, a member of the appellate division at the Harris County District Attorney's office.

I also noticed a case in the updates from the appellate courts where a Texas inmate sued under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to require the Department of Criminal Justice to make allowances for his particular religion - in this case Hare Krishna. A summary judgment in favor of the agency was reversed on appeal:
According to the First Court, the Department did not present conclusive evidence to demonstrate compelling interests in (1) not allowing additional storage space for religious materials to the extent that it allows additional storage space for legal and educational materials, and (2) preventing the administrative burden on prison officials to determine whether inmates need additional storage space for religious materials when they are burdened with such a determination for legal and educational materials.
I'm not sure that's what proponents of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act had in mind, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

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