Remembering 9/11: National Archives 9/11 Commission Records

Today, we remember the tragedy of the terror attacks that fell the World Trade Center Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001. As nearly two decades have passed, the details of the day may have faded from memory even as the pain suffered by those who lost loved ones as the towers fell stings just as sharply. Preservation of the details to remind us of this pivotal event in American history is, therefore, important.

The job of investigating the details was originally assigned by Congress (see Pub. L. 107-306) to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, which became known as the 9/11 Commission. The records generated by the investigation are now entrusted to the National Archives, which makes the details of the day forever committed to our nation’s memory.

Find more information about the 9/11 Commission Records at https://www.archives.gov/research/9-11.

Happy Women's Equality Day!

Today, August 26, is Women's Equality Day. The date commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees women the right to vote. It states that "the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Women’s Equality Day was established at the behest of Congressional Representative, Bella Abzug (D-NY), to observe women’s suffrage and to recognize the contributions of women throughout history. This day of recognition also celebrates women’s accomplishments in public and private spheres.

For resources on Women's Equality Day, visit the National Women's History Museum online.

On the Ballot: Texas Constitutional Amendments 2019

Ten proposed constitutional amendments will be on the November ballot. The Texas League of Women Voters has compiled a nice list of the amendments along with important voting deadlines. Compare the pros and cons of each proposed amendment, and prepare to cast your vote on Election Day, November 5, 2019.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments

  1. Municipal Judges

  2. Assistance for Water Projects in Distressed Areas

  3. Tax Relief for Disaster Areas

  4. Personal Income Tax

  5. Sporting Goods Tax to Support State Parks

  6. Cancer Prevention & Research

  7. Funding Public Education

  8. Flood Control

  9. Tax Exemption of Precious Metals

  10. Law Enforcement Animals

For additional information and resources for voting in Texas, visit VoteTexas.gov And, for a brief history lesson on why the Texas Constitution is so long, with so many amendments, read this article at the Texas Tribune. Finally, for all your Texas statutory and Constitutional law research needs, the Texas Legislative Reference Library is your best free online resource.

An Important Day in Constitutional History: Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964)

Escobedo - Sixth Amendment.png

During Constitutional Law Resource Month at the Harris County Law Library, we are taking a look back at a landmark Supreme Court decision, Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964). Tomorrow marks the 55th anniversary of the decision and its role in reinforcing our Sixth Amendment rights.

Danny Escobedo was arrested without a warrant on January 20, 1960. As the prime suspect in the shooting death of his brother-in-law, he was held for questioning for more than 18 hours. Escobedo asked repeatedly for his attorney to be present, but repeatedly, his request was denied. It was only after being indicted that Escobedo was granted access to a lawyer, violating his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to due process and access to counsel. The Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966) decision just two years later implicitly overruled Escobedo, but it was, nonetheless, an important step in the process toward ensuring a constitutional right to counsel for the criminal accused.

75th Anniversary of D-Day

Not Forgotten

Today, we remember the sacrifices of the brave men and women who served our country in World War II. On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 troops composed of U.S. and allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France to fight the forces of fascism. (see Army.mil Features: D-Day). Today, 75 years later, we honor those troops who fought for the very existence of democracy across the globe.

Operation Overlord

The invasion of Normandy, named “Operation Overlord,” was the culmination of months of planning and preparation. On the morning of the invasion, General Dwight D. Eisenhower issued his “Order of the Day,” commanding commencement of the operation. The order informed troops that they were “about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months” and that they would “accept nothing less than full Victory!”

Find more on General Eisenhower’s D-Day preparations and orders online from the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

An Optimistic Proclamation

Against the backdrop of anticipating the greatest battle in American history, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Proclamation 2614 on May 3, 1944, encouraging his fellow Americans to celebrate Flag Day on June 14, 1944. He did so with knowledge of the stakes of Operation Overlord and the possibilities for failure. And yet, FDR’s optimism rings loudly, even 75 years later, in this paragraph found on the Harris County Law Library shelves in 58 Stat. 1134:

Let us then display our flag proudly, knowing that it symbolizes the strong and constructive ideals—the democratic ideals—which we oppose to the evil of our enemies. Let us display our flag, and the flags of all the United Nations which fight beside us, to symbolize our joint brotherhood, our joint dedication, under God, to the cause of unity and the freedom of men.

Expanding a Special Collection - The Law of Coahuila and Texas

We were pleased to welcome Dr. Jesús F. de la Teja, author, professor, and CEO of the Texas State Historical Association, and David A. Furlow, Executive Editor of the Journal of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, at the Harris County Law Library on Friday to mark the donation of two new volumes to the law library’s special collection - The Law of Coahuila and Texas, or La Ley de Coahuila y Texas.

Photo from left: Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, Dr. Magdalena de la Teja, Dr. Jesús F. de la Teja, David A. Furlow, Law Library Director Mariann Sears, Law Library Deputy Director Joseph D. Lawson


Actas del Congreso Constituyente de Coahuila y Texas de 1824 a 1827

Dr. de la Teja signed the donated two-volume work entitled Actas del Congreso Constituyente de Coahuila y Texas de 1824 a 1827: Primera Constitución bilingüe, or Acts of the Constituent Congress of Coahuila and Texas, 1824–1827 : Mexico’s Only Bilingual Constitution, which he coauthored with Judge Manuel González Oropeza, former magistrate for the Federal Electoral Commission of Mexico. The work provides the text of the document and analysis of the pivotal role it played in the transition of Coahuila and Texas from joined states of Mexico to states separated by an international border. Given the content of the work, Dr. de la Teja’s inscription is apt:

For the Harris County Law Library,

With great appreciation for your efforts to preserve and promote ties with our sister republic,

/s/Jesús F. de la Teja

4/5/2019


The Law of Coahuila and Texas, an historical resource collection

La Ley de Coahuila y Texas, una colección de recursos históricos

 The two-volume set is now a part of the Law Library’s collection of materials focused on the legal history of Southeast Texas and Northeast Mexico from Spanish colonization to statehood. It includes historical volumes of texts containing some of the region’s earliest laws to modern analysis that provide context and finding aids for modern researchers. Marking the end of the collection’s chronological scope is a reproduction of Captain William Emory’s survey of the U.S.-Mexico border issued in 1859. The three-volume set contains firsthand accounts of surveyors and illustrations of the region’s topography, flora, and fauna.


Digesto Constitucional Mexicano: Historia Constitucional de la Nacion - De Aguascalientes a Zacatecas: 1824-2017

On behalf of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, Mr. Furlow also donated the scholarly treatise entitled Digesto Constitucional Mexicano: Historia Constitucional de la Nacion - De Aguascalientes a Zacatecas: 1824-2017. This work, written by Judge Manuel González Oropeza, provides extensive insight into the historical evolution of constitutional law in an area of Mexico not previously covered by the Law Library’s collection. We appreciate the donation and are thrilled to make these resources available to all at the Harris County Law Library.