EEOC active as 50th anniversary approaches, Texas lawyers told

Nearly 50 years after its creation as part of the historic Civil Rights Act, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking stock of its objectives and the challenges that remain, Chair Jenny R. Yang told Texas attorneys Jan. 22 in Dallas.

Yang, speaking to about 300 attendees at the TexasBarCLE Advanced Employment Law Course, said the commission has made much progress since opening in July 1965 with the duty to enforce federal laws barring discrimination in hiring and employment. Still, some workers remain vulnerable to discrimination, including pregnant women, immigrants, and temporary workers, she said.

“We’re thinking about where we are today on some of these persistent issues that we’ve been addressing throughout the history of the agency,” said Yang, who was named chair by President Obama in September. She has served on the commission since 2013.

Current EEOC initiatives include a new task force to study the problem of workplace harassment and a push to educate the public about the laws that protect workers. The latter effort included a public meeting in Houston, where federal agencies provided educational materials in various languages.

“We heard so much appreciation from the community,” Yang said. “Many had never seen these materials in their language before. Many know nothing about our agency and the protections that exist. We’re trying to spread the word.”

Pictured: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Jenny R. Yang, right, offered an overview of EEOC operations Jan. 22 during a keynote address at the TexasBarCLE Advanced Employment Law Course in Dallas. Also pictured is course director Kathy D. Boutchee, senior trial attorney for the EEOC in Houston.

Video coverage of 2014 Annual Meeting now on Texas Bar TV

The State Bar of Texas has captured some of the highlights from the 2014 Annual Meeting in Austin and posted videos from the event to its Texas Bar TV YouTube channel.

Watch Bench Bar Breakfast keynote speakers Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of former President Lyndon Baines Johnson, and Austin lawyer Larry Temple, who served as special counsel to LBJ, discuss Johnson’s role in passing the Civil Rights Act, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and see Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon keynote speaker Bobby R. Inman, former director of the National Security Agency, discuss security threats around the world. 

Annual Meeting proved a time of learning, reuniting with old colleagues, and making connections, and two full days of programming provided attorneys with the latest information on everything from social media marketing and branding to the important insurance issues pending before the Texas Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit.

Catch Texas Bar TV interviews from participating speakers such as Jeremi Suri, who talked about how the Civil Rights Act has impacted world; Bill Baxley, who touched on the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case; and Rocky Dhir and Mark Unger, who each had five minutes to talk about whatever they wanted to during Ignite SBOT. Texas Bar TV host David Kroll also sat down with State Bar President Trey Apffel and TYLA President Rebekah Steely Brooker to learn more about their vision for the upcoming year. To see all the coverage, go to Texas Bar TV. 

Bench Bar Breakfast speakers remember LBJ's instrumental role in the Civil Rights Act of 1964

As panelists for the Bench Bar Breakfast readied for a discussion on Lyndon Baines Johnson’s role in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Lynda Johnson Robb, eldest daughter of the former president, reminded the audience of Texas lawyers that “nobody can understand Lyndon Johnson’s mind.” Then she and fellow panelists, in commemoration of the act’s 50th anniversary, set out to analyze LBJ’s strategies and actions that led to passing the monumental bill that forever changed American society and race relations. The talk took place at the State Bar of Texas’s Annual Meeting in Austin on June 27, 2014. Robb, who was 20 years old when her father signed the Civil Rights Act, was joined by Austin lawyer Larry Temple, who served as special counsel to LBJ, and panel moderator Talmage Boston, an author and shareholder in Winstead.

The panel started by discussing Johnson’s desire to pass a civil rights bill. Temple told the audience that Johnson’s thoughts on civil rights originated in Cotulla, Texas, “where he taught in a one-room school to a group of Mexican-American children, and he saw in their eyes, the hunger they came to school with and the deprivation they came to school with.” When analyzing why Johnson hadn’t voted for civil rights legislation during his early years in Congress, Boston said, “He had a famous saying that ‘you don’t try to kill the snake until you have the hoe in your hands.’” Temple said that Johnson knew he didn’t have the political clout back then but that once he had more power as president, he was steadfast and believed strongly in the cause even though it might risk losing the South in the next election. “We’re going to pass it and we’re going to pass all of it,” Temple recalled LBJ saying to Richard Russell, a senator and longtime Johnson family friend who disagreed with the civil rights bill.

Robb said that Johnson’s success in passing several pieces of civil rights legislation—which additionally included the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968—was partly due to his ability to know when things could be done. Even though some in Congress wanted to wait to vote on the civil rights bill until after the 1965 elections, Robb said that her father knew they needed to do it before a “window of opportunity” was missed. “He really wanted to seize the moment and the hearts of the people in this country.”

No doubt a factor in the act’s success was that LBJ was a unique man with traits conducive to getting things done in Washington. Boston noted that at the time of the Kennedy assassination, every civil rights bill before Congress had been stalled. “President Kennedy’s eloquence made people think; President Johnson’s hammer-blows made people act,” Boston said, quoting a 1964 New Yorker article. Temple noted that when LBJ talked with somebody, he got “this close” to their face, holding his hands up about a foot apart from one another.

Additionally, Temple said, LBJ “grew up in” and understood Congress and was a friend to many senators—on both sides of the political spectrum—and took the time to do things such as being the only member of Congress who showed up for the funeral of a colleague’s niece. Temple recollected that sometimes LBJ persuaded members of Congress by saying if you don’t vote yes, I won’t help you on such-and-such—and other times he used a softer approach. All panelists commented nostalgically on the rarity of such bipartisan teamwork in today’s political environment.

“There was a time when people actually talked to each other in Congress, across party lines,” said Robb, noting that her father knew everybody in Congress and was friends with most of them, to which the audience applauded.

But LBJ also realized his limitations. He knew that he had to have help in order to have success, and Robb took time to recognize others who played instrumental roles, including African-American activists and republicans who risked their own political futures to vote for the bill. “As great as Daddy was,” she said, “there were a lot of people out in the hinterland who were really putting their lives on the line.”

Closing the panel, which maintained the focused attention of the audience of hundreds, Robb read a quote of her father’s:

We know how much still remains to be done; and if our efforts continue, and if our will is strong, and if our hearts are right, and if courage remains our constant companion, then, my fellow Americans, I am confident we shall overcome.

From the Bookshelf: New works highlight Civil Rights Act history

Editor's note: The following is reprinted from the June 2014 Texas Bar Journal. Click here to read more on the Civil Rights Act from the latest issue. 

When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964, he said it was a product of “months of the most careful debate and discussion.” But in reality, as the president knew, the discourse had been raging for much longer.

“We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights,” Johnson had said during his first presidential address to Congress in November 1963, two days after his predecessor’s funeral. “We have talked for a hundred years or more. It is time now to write the next chapter, and to write it in the books of law.”

Author Todd S. Purdum recounts the scene in An Idea Whose Time Has Come, one of several new books detailing the history of the landmark civil rights legislation. As the State Bar of Texas celebrates the Civil Rights Act’s 50th anniversary during its 2014 Annual Meeting, consider this reading list to help you learn more about the law and its legacy.


An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Todd S. Purdum (2014, Henry Holt and Co.)
This narrative account by Purdum, an editor and correspondent for Vanity Fair, explains how two presidents worked with civil rights leaders and lawmakers from both parties to overcome deep-rooted opposition to the 1964 law, resulting in the country’s first meaningful civil rights legislation in a century.

The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act
Clay Risen (2014, Bloomsbury Press)
New York Times op-ed section editor Clay Risen explores the personalities and political forces at work as Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which the author calls “the most important piece of legislation passed by Congress in the 20th century.” Risen looks beyond the roles of Johnson and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to a “long list of starring and supporting players” inside and outside Washington.

We the People, Vol. 3: The Civil Rights Revolution
Bruce Ackerman (2014, Belknap Press)
Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale University, focuses on the events and laws that shaped the civil rights era and helped to end Jim Crow, starting with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision and moving through to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

The Passage of Power
Robert A. Caro (2012, Knopf)
The fourth installment in Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson series, the book covers the turbulent but legislatively fruitful years of 1958 to 1964, when Johnson used his mastery of Washington, honed by years of experience in congressional leadership, to pass Great Society and civil rights laws in the wake of the Kennedy assassination.

Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency
Mark K. Updegrove (2012, Crown Publishers)
Focusing on the breadth of Johnson’s five-year presidency, the book is a character study of a complex and driven leader who, Updegrove argues, is too often given “short shrift through historical shorthand.” Told through a collection of impressions from Johnson, his aides, members of Congress, and White House reporters, the book is a deep dive inside a “giant of a man” who helped pass more than 200 laws—including landmark civil rights, education, health care, and immigration bills—before the Vietnam War overwhelmed his presidency. Updegrove, the director of the LBJ Presidential Library, will speak about Johnson’s civil rights achievements June 27 in Austin as part of the State Bar’s Annual Meeting.


Civil Rights Summit: A roundup of Texas Bar Blog coverage

Pictured: Attorneys David Boies, center, and Theodore Olson, right, discuss their joint effort in arguing against California's Proposition 8 before the U.S. Supreme Court during "Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?", a panel moderated by John Avlon, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, at the Civil Rights Summit on Tuesday. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly, courtesy of LBJ Foundation)

The LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit wrapped up Thursday after three days of panel discussions and speeches about the history and future of civil rights.

The Texas Bar Blog covered many of the activities, and you can find links to the stories below.

The event was held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In June, the State Bar of Texas 2014 Annual Meeting will also commemorate the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with speeches from Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the legislation, and LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove, among others.

Visit for more information.

Texas Bar Blog coverage of Civil Rights Summit (listed from newest to oldest)

President Obama remembers LBJ's gifts and flaws, says office of presidency is meant for improving American lives 

Education: 'The Ultimate Civil Right'

Making America better: a look back at the movement that resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 

Clinton praises 'political genius,' 'martyrs' who made civil rights laws a reality

Former President Jimmy Carter discusses civil rights at summit  

LBJ, MLK, and the push for civil rights

Immigration reform discussed during LBJ Civil Rights Summit

Boies & Olson: Gay marriage latest fight in civil rights movement

LBJ Civil Rights Summit starts today in Austin


Education: 'The Ultimate Civil Right'

A conversation on education wrapped up the panel sessions Thursday during the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit in Austin.

U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Margaret Spellings, former U.S. education secretary and president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, answered questions on the state and potential future of the American education system from CBS News reporter Bob Schieffer.

A clip of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, once a Texas teacher, discussing his views on education opened the conversation, much of which focused on policies related to education reform. Both Miller and Spellings assisted with the national implementation of No Child Left Behind, a reauthorization and revision of Johnson’s 1965 Elementary and Secondary Act, under the George W. Bush administration.


“This is a bill that passed because it was cooperation between Republicans and Democrats,” said Schieffer, referring to the difference in political leanings of those involved in No Child Left Behind.

“It was a common cause,” Spellings said. “We shared a belief that we could and should do this work.”

The Common Core and Race to the Top initiatives soon came into the discussion.

“The Common Core, I think, takes us to a new iteration,” Miller said. “We recognize that students in America are not going to thrive in an advanced economy if they’re just filling in bubbles, if they can’t explain the concepts that they learned in class or they learned in a particular course. That analytical thinking is part of education.”

Spellings said she has no quarrel with the Common Core, but is concerned about its application and accountability.

“It’s the standard,” she said. “But equally important is how many students can meet that standard?”

“Just because you’ve developed a new assessment, a new test, you cannot forget the accountability pieces,” agreed Miller.

Schieffer also read statistics comparing students in the U.S. with students of other nations, which largely implied that the U.S. education system is falling behind. Miller said the U.S. evaluates a broader range of students than other countries, while Spellings argued “the rest of the world is leaping ahead” while the U.S. stands still.

Both parties agreed that equal access to excellent teachers and resources is essential to closing the nation’s education gap and shared excitement for successful charter schools. The pair also stressed the importance of using technology in classrooms to customize teaching plans and make test results immediate for quicker adjustments to learning needs. Miller said he has witnessed many young educators who are working to be innovative in their teaching.

“We need an effective teacher with all of our children, not some of our children. That’s part of the civil rights legacy,” Miller said.

Footage of the “Education: The Ultimate Civil Right” conversation and other panels from the Civil Rights Summit can be found at The three-day summit, which ended Thursday, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Find links to other Texas Bar Blog coverage below.

Making America better: a look back at the movement that resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Clinton praises 'political genius,' 'martyrs' who made civil rights laws a reality

Former President Jimmy Carter discusses civil rights at summit 

LBJ, MLK, and the push for civil rights

Immigration reform discussed during LBJ Civil Rights Summit

Boies & Olson: Gay marriage latest fight in civil rights movement

Photo credit: Margaret Spellings, center, president of the George W. Bush Center and former education secretary, and U.S. Rep. George Miller, right, discuss the state of education with Bob Schieffer, CBS News reporter. Photo by Lauren Gerson, courtesy of the LBJ Foundation.

Making America better: a look back at the movement that resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Speakers for the Civil Rights Summit panel titled “Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement: Views From the Front Line” stressed the importance of looking to the future. But their recounted experiences of the 1950s and 1960s served as an instrumental reminder to inform the present. Julian Bond, former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, and UN Ambassador Andrew Young—who all played important roles in the civil rights movement—spent the panel reflecting on their past despairs, fears, and victories, as well as their hopes for today’s generations.

Each of the panelists told their story of what it was like as active members of the civil rights movement. Lewis, who grew up in rural Alabama, said that his sharecropper parents had told him not to get into any trouble. But then he heard about the actions of Rosa Parks and listened to the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “I saw signs and I didn’t like the signs I saw,” he said. “I got in good trouble, necessary trouble.” Lewis went on to help form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and lead the Bloody Sunday demonstration, all the while maintaining a philosophy of nonviolence, love, and peace. “When I got arrested the first time, I felt free. I felt liberated,” he said, noting that it was the civil rights movement that created the necessary environment to make the Civil Rights Act of 1964 possible. “The March on Washington, I think, was one of the finest hours. It was a sea of humanity.”

Bond was a student at Morehouse College when he became involved with the movement. After hearing about sit-ins happening around the country, he staged a student sit-in at Atlanta City Hall. “One thing was certain—being arrested would follow,” he said. Bond would soon help found SNCC, lead protests, found the Southern Poverty Law Center, and serve in the George House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate.

Young, meanwhile, was growing up in New Orleans, where his father told him, "'White supremacy is a sickness. And you don’t get mad at sick people. You help them. Don’t get mad—get smart.’” He said that the March on Washington never would have happened without the South. Young went on to help King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference coordinate desegregation efforts.

All three of the men shared their proudest moments of the civil rights movement. Bond’s was when he was arrested in the Atlanta City Hall, while Lewis’s was marching from Selma to Montgomery for what turned into Bloody Sunday. Young’s was when he was beat by KKK members for marching in St. Augustine, Florida. “That night I felt good,” said Young. “I felt like playing football.”

Still they had moments of deep sadness. When King was assassinated, Bond said he felt like one of his family members had died. “I felt everything we’ve worked for is over.” But Lewis and Young explained that King had so prepared them for the event that they knew how to move on. “The philosophy of nonviolence tells us not to get lost in a sea of despair,” said Lewis. Young added, “We came right back from the hospital and we sat down and we said, ‘they can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream.’”

In the face of such violence, how did these men do what they thought had to be done? “If it took our death to redeem the soul of America,” said Lewis. “I think some of us were prepared.” Bond added, “Generally it was to say, ‘well he’s doing it, and he’s doing it, and she’s doing it—so why can’t I do it?’”

Bond’s comment led the panel to discuss the role of women in the movement. Although history remembers leaders such as King and Malcolm X, women—with the exception of Rosa Parks—are less well known. “Without young women, middle aged women, old women, there wouldn’t have been a modern day civil rights movement,” said Lewis, noting that women were instrumental in the movement being peaceful as many men initially thought they would have trouble being nonviolent.

Moving on to the future, the panelists told the audience what they think are the civil rights issues of today and of the future. In his response, Young focused on the importance of addressing economic issues to help remedy world hunger and homelessness, as well as lowering the cost of college tuition to make education and resulting student loan debt less prohibitive and punitive. Bond cited concerns for education and segregated housing, in which “white people live over here and black people live over here.”

Lewis said he was tired of ignoring the people “in the shadows,” and encouraged a movement for immigration reform. “The most pressing need for young people is to move with a more deliberate speed to create a truly multicultural, multiracial, democratic society,” he said. “I don’t accept this idea that there are individuals that are illegal. There’s no such thing as an illegal human being. I think we’ve been too quiet.”

Clinton praises 'political genius,' 'martyrs' who made civil rights laws a reality

Former President Bill Clinton took the stage Wednesday during the second evening of the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit in Austin, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Following a series of inspiring readings on civil rights presented in part by the families of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson, Clinton reflected on the accomplishments of civil rights leaders in the 1960s and how the nation should work to honor and continue their efforts.

“These laws were bargained for shrewdly by a political genius,” Clinton said in reference to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. “They were championed with great purpose by distinguished citizens. But they were also paid for with the blood of martyrs.”

Citizens owe it to them to continue to move forward together, Clinton said, noting that there are “no final victories in politics” and that “thank you is not good enough.”

After referencing the leadership style of Nelson Mandela, Clinton stressed the importance of practicing the “politics of inclusion.” He also touched on the current state of the Voting Rights Act and voter ID issues from state to state, specifically criticizing Texas for its laws.

“We’re laughing, but it’s dead serious,” Clinton said after making a comment that he was at one point considering coming to Texas for additional schooling, but can’t because he doesn’t have the proper ID. “This is a way of restricting the franchise after 50 years of expanding it.”

He further emphasized the importance of disagreements, so long as the purpose is to move forward, not paralyze and divide the country.

“We have too many current challenges to waste today trying to recreate a yesterday that we’re better off done with,” he said. “We have too many challenges to waste any opportunity to work together to deal with them.”

The three-day summit concludes today following conversations with President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush. Former President Jimmy Carter spoke at the event on Tuesday. 

Live stream the summit here

LBJ, MLK, and the push for civil rights

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared a deep, personal, and practical relationship that helped in passing 1960s civil rights legislation, panelists said Wednesday as part of the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit.

“I think it was very warm and personal,” said former Rep. Andrew Young, a close King aide, describing the relationship between King and Johnson. “Whenever I was with them there was never an argument or tension; there was gentlemen’s disagreement. Dr. King saw himself as having to keep the pressure on.”

Pressure created by the March on Washington and nonviolent civil rights demonstrations in the South—and authorities’ often brutal crackdowns on them—began to open the door to major civil rights legislation in 1963, but it took leadership from Johnson and congressional leaders to push it through the following year, speakers said.

That legislation, the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, is the focus of the three-day summit, which is bringing four of the five living U.S. presidents and numerous other leaders to Austin to discuss past and current civil rights issues.

The “LBJ and MLK” panel featured speakers who either worked with or extensively studied Johnson, including historian Taylor Branch; author Doris Kearns Goodwin, a former LBJ aide; Joseph Califano Jr., former U.S. Army general counsel who was Johnson’s top domestic aide; and moderator Todd Purdum, a journalist and author of “An Idea Whose Time Has Come,” a new book about the Civil Rights Act. Young, who went on to serve as a United Nations ambassador and Atlanta mayor, offered perspective from the movement’s front lines.

The speakers agreed that although Johnson initially called for passage of the Civil Rights Act in honor of the recently slain President John F. Kennedy, he quickly made the issue his own and did everything in his power to see it through Congress, even at the risk of alienating fellow Southern Democrats.

“Within a month after Johnson became president, the government changed,” Califano said. “The pressure to do civil rights…it was in his gut.”

Johnson’s later civil rights achievements, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, were his proudest, Goodwin said.

“And he knew it would stand the test of time,” she said.

The session began with the playing of a recorded phone conversation between King and Johnson in which they pledged cooperation, although their relationship was not without conflict. Goodwin said tension is inevitable when an outside movement is pushing a president to act more quickly than the government is prepared to act.

“The same tension existed between Lincoln and Frederick Douglass,” said Goodwin, author of the 2005 Lincoln biography "Team of Rivals." “Douglass was constantly telling him, ‘You’re not doing everything I want you to do,’ and eventually they became really good friends. And Lincoln understood he needed Frederick Douglass and the abolitionists, just as LBJ needed the civil rights movement. And together Martin Luther King and LBJ produced something—thank God they were there at that moment of history—that changed our country forever.”

The Civil Rights Act was the gateway to broader freedoms for many other Americans, including women and the disabled, Branch said.

“All those doors opened in the wake of going through the gate of race,” Branch said, adding that he viewed civil rights leaders as akin to founding fathers. “They were confronting subjugation and they were setting in motion equal citizenship.”


Boies & Olson: Gay marriage latest fight in civil rights movement

The fight for same-sex marriage is part of a continuum of the civil rights movement and one that has only one valid legal outcome, attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson said Tuesday in Austin during the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit, which marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The two high-profile attorneys, who successfully represented the plaintiffs challenging California’s gay marriage ban in 2013, opened the three-day summit with an hourlong discussion that touched on their work on the landmark Supreme Court case, their views on the public’s shifting attitudes toward gay rights, and their relationship as a legal “odd couple” who put aside partisanship to work together. (The attorneys hold different political philosophies and argued opposing sides of Bush v. Gore in 2000.)

“I thought it was extremely important that we present this not as a left-or-right issue but as a constitutional issue,” said Olson, who is currently working with Boies in challenging Virginia’s gay marriage ban.

The attorneys acknowledged that some people hold religious objections to same-sex marriage. But as a legal matter, there should be no question about what is right, Boies said.


“As a matter of legal principle, there simply are not two arguments,” said Boies, arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses, along with U.S. Supreme Court precedent, establish a right to same-sex marriage.

The session, moderated by Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon, did not include an opponent of same-sex marriage.

Momentum is strong in the wake of the court’s June 2013 decisions in United States v. Windsor, striking down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that refused to recognize same-sex marriages, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, invalidating California’s same-sex marriage ban, the attorneys said.

Since then, federal district court judges across the country, including in Texas, have cited the Supreme Court rulings in striking down same-sex marriage bans in their states, although the rulings in Texas and elsewhere are being appealed. (In announcing he would appeal the Texas ruling, Attorney General Greg Abbott said the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that states have the power to define and regulate marriage and that the Texas Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.)

The district court rulings, along with rapidly changing public views in favor of gay rights, make it clear that the U.S. is on course to legalize same-sex marriage, Boies and Olson said.

“The Supreme Court has said we do not tolerate putting classes of our citizens into boxes and groups in which we deny them rights to equal dignity,” Olson said. “And that’s what we have done with our gay and lesbian citizens.”


LBJ Civil Rights Summit starts today in Austin

President Barack Obama and three former presidents will be among the speakers in Austin starting today as part of the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit, which marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Texas Bar Journal will be there to cover the three-day event and will post updates on Twitter and the Texas Bar Blog. Also, look for a recap in the June issue of the magazine.

Event organizers are offering live streaming of the events at Find the full schedule and speakers list here.


The Twitter hashtag is #CivilRightsSummit. Also on Twitter, you can follow TBJ managing editor Patricia McConnico (@pmcconnico), editors Lindsay Stafford Mader (@LSMader) and Hannah Kiddoo (@hkid), and State Bar public information director Lowell Brown (@LowellMBrown) for live updates.

In June, the State Bar of Texas 2014 Annual Meeting will also commemorate the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with speeches from Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the act, and LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove, among others.

Visit for more information.


UT historian to speak on Civil Rights Act at SBOT Annual Meeting

University of Texas historian Jeremi Suri will discuss the worldwide effects of the Civil Rights Act at the 2014 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Austin.

Suri will present “How the Civil Rights Act Has Impacted the World” from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. June 27 as part of the meeting’s continuing legal education programming.

The meeting, set for June 26-27 at the Hilton Austin and Austin Convention Center, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act with a variety of activities, including a keynote speech by Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the act, and LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove.

Suri, a noted historian, author, and speaker, has a joint appointment in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the University of Texas at Austin Department of History, where he holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs. He is the author of five books, and he blogs on foreign policy and contemporary politics at Global Brief.

Click here for more information about the State Bar’s Annual Meeting or to reserve a hotel room at the group rate. Online registration for the meeting starts Feb. 1.

Follow the State Bar of Texas on Facebook and Twitter for more updates as the meeting approaches.