"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
The Texas Supreme Court announced Friday that it will decide whether University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall Jr. should be provided records from an internal investigation into favoritism in admissions to UT.Read the whole thing here.
Acknowledging that Hall’s term as regent ends Feb. 1, the court also set an unusually rapid pace by scheduling oral arguments for Jan. 11 — giving both sides only a dozen days to prepare for an event that features frequent interruptions from justices seeking input on often esoteric points of law.
The pace shouldn’t be a problem, Hall lawyer Joe Knight said Friday, because both sides recently submitted their legal briefs, which also were set on an expedited schedule.
“Everything should be pretty fresh on the minds of all the lawyers involved,” he said.
If Hall were to prevail at the Supreme Court, Knight said he believes there will be enough time to review the records, which are electronically stored, and formulate a report for the rest of the Board of Regents.
“While his term expires Feb. 1, he retains the office until his successor is nominated by the governor, confirmed by the Senate and sworn in — and we really don’t know what date that will be,” Knight said. “It’s not like he has stacks of paper to go through or would have to crawl through a warehouse. He’ll be able to very efficiently skim through things that may not be important and focus on those things that are.”
It would set a dangerous precedent, Hall told the state Supreme Court, if university officials were allowed to withhold information from regents who are sworn to oversee the school.
It's pretty much impossible for this event to have better timing: January 11th is the day after the legislature returns to town.
Consider the following:
- If you're Joe Straus, considering that you were one of the worst abusers of the secret admissions program, this is literally the last issue you want to see dominate the first month of session.
- If you're Greg Abbott, and you want to quietly cycle Wallace Hall off of the Board of Regents, this blows that plan to smithereens!!!
- If you're the Texas Senate, this can only stiffen your spine to
stall the confirmation process for three monthstake a "deliberative and thoughtful" approach to confirming any potential new regents.
- Author's Note: If the Senate is smart, they'll refuse to confirm anyone to the UT Board and come back in 2019 with 6 vacancies (ie. a MAJORITY of the 9 member Board).
This whole fiasco resembles baseball and steroids. Similar to Major League Baseball, had the UT politburo and the Texas Legislature simply dealt with the issue in an open and transparent manner, they could have left it in the rear-view mirror years ago. Instead, they chose to bully, cover-up, and stonewall...which only led to a bigger, more expensive, public relations fiasco.
Bottom Line: That this will come to a head the day after the legislature returns to town is pretty much the greatest act of poetic justice possible; what starts here changes the world, get your Horns UP!!!