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.

Latest & Greatest – Texas Discovery: A Guide to Taking and Resisting Discovery under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure

By Robert K. Wise and Kennon L. Wooten  Published by Texas Lawyer, an ALM Publication  KFT 1737 .W57 2019  Photo Credit: Helen Hartman

By Robert K. Wise and Kennon L. Wooten

Published by Texas Lawyer, an ALM Publication

KFT 1737 .W57 2019

Photo Credit: Helen Hartman

Recognizing that discovery is typically the most costly aspect of civil litigation, the authors set out drafting a comprehensive guide to Texas discovery for practitioners. The result was Texas Discovery: A Guide to Taking and Resisting Discovery under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Each chapter of the book is tied to a particular discovery rule and includes the text of the rule and any applicable notes and comments, a general explanation of the rule, and any related procedural information. The authors focus on Rule 190 through Rule 205 as well as sanctions under Rule 215. They cover everything from the purpose of discovery and discovery control plans to requests for disclosure, production, and admission to interrogatories and depositions with a bit of expert discovery and physical and mental examinations thrown in as well. There are plenty of bibliographic references and a table of cases pointing the reader toward more authority and elucidation.

The next time you find yourself in the discovery phase of a civil case, have a look at Texas Discovery: A Guide to Taking and Resisting Discovery under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. It may help you navigate the twisted maze that is Texas discovery.

Recursos en Español (Spanish Language Resources)

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The Law Library is pleased to announce a new collection — Recursos en Español. This collection of booklets, pamphlets, and brochures brings together information from our community partners about services that are available to Spanish speakers in Harris County. The materials, which are published in Spanish, are collected in one location near the Copy Center, and are free to all! Pamphlets covering family law matters, such as custody, parenting, adoption and mediation, as well as a selection of pamphlets from the State Bar of Texas on choosing a lawyer, writing a will, and much more are available. Additionally, information is provided by Texas Young Lawyers Association, the Office of Domestic Relations, the Federal Trade Commission, the Texas Attorney General, AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Violence), and other legal aid organizations. TexasLawHelp.org provides bilingual forms for divorce and annulment. Finally, a publication from the Law Library titled Manual para Litigantes Pro Se connects Spanish-speaking patrons with even more local community services. Spanish language translation services are available from 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday. Library staff can answer reference questions in Spanish and help patrons find the information and resources they need.

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La Biblioteca Jurídica se complace en anunciar una nueva colección: Recursos en español. Esta colección de folletos reúne información de nuestros socios comunitarios sobre los servicios que están disponibles para los hispanohablantes en el Condado de Harris. Los materiales que se publican en español se pueden conseguir cerca del Centro de Copias, ¡y son gratuitos para todos! Encontrará folletos que cubren asuntos de derecho de familia, como custodia, la crianza, la adopción, y mediación. Así también, hay una selección de folletos de la Barra Estatal de Texas sobre como seleccionar un abogado, como hacer un testamento, y muchos más. Asimismo, encontrará información provista por la Asociación de Abogado Jóvenes de Texas, la Oficina de Relaciones Domesticas, la Comisión Federal de Comercio, el Fiscal General de Texas, AVDA (Ayuda a víctimas de violencia domestica) y otras organizaciones de asistencia legal. TexasLawHelp.org ofrece formularios bilingües de divorcio y anulación. Por último, una publicación de la Biblioteca Jurídica titulada Manual para Litigantes Pro Se enumera las organizaciones que provee servicios comunitarios locales a los hispanohablantes. Servicios de traducción en español están disponibles de lunes a viernes de 8am a 5pm. El personal de la biblioteca puede responder a preguntas de referencia en español y ayudar a usuarios a encontrar la información y los recursos que necesitan.

Latest & Greatest – Homeland Security and Emergency Management: A Legal Guide for State and Local Governments

Edited by Ernest B. Abbott and Otto J. Hetzel  Published by American Bar Association. Section of State and Local Government Law  KF 4850 .L44 2018  Photo Credit: Helen Hartman

Edited by Ernest B. Abbott and Otto J. Hetzel

Published by American Bar Association. Section of State and Local Government Law

KF 4850 .L44 2018

Photo Credit: Helen Hartman

Hurricane season is the perfect time to discuss emergency management and preparedness, although here on the Gulf Coast, one should be prepared no matter the season. When a disaster strikes, there is no time to consider or contemplate; many decisions and responses must be immediate. Attorneys Ernest B. Abbott and Otto J. Hetzel have compiled a book, Homeland Security and Emergency Management: A Legal Guide for State and Local Governments, to assist state and local governments and the lawyers that advise them in keeping the public safe, mitigating any damages, and formulating and implementing a recovery plan. 

The first part addresses the source of legal authority in emergency and catastrophic events, the role of the military and the National Guard, the National Response Framework issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security and supported by the National Incident Management System, and public disclosure of information. A discussion of hazard mitigation makes up the bulk of the second part of the book. It also includes a primer on the National Flood Insurance Program. Cybersecurity, public health emergencies, and immigration issues are at the heart of Part III, as these topics have gained greater significance over time. The last section focuses on response and recovery, including legal issues associated with emergency management when dealing with vulnerable populations, such as the disabled and elderly. Another topic of interest in this last section is managing emergency evacuations. 

It is said that “hindsight is 20/20,” so why not focus on having the foresight to handle a disaster before it happens? Before the next disaster strikes, have a look at Homeland Security and Emergency Management: A Legal Guide for State and Local Governments.

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.

Color the Law: Celebrate National Coloring Book Day

August 2 is National Coloring Book Day! To celebrate, we’ve compiled this list of freely available coloring pages from across the web, all related to the courts, judges, and the legal system. Have fun!

State Bar of Texas Activity Books First on the list, and deserving of special mention, are the State Bar of Texas activity books. Previously on Ex Libris Juris, we discussed the value of having these terrific resources on hand to share with families who visit the Law Library. Many thanks to the State Bar of Texas for making these coloring books available to our young visitors. Offering these activity books is a simple gesture, but keeping restless children engaged with a fun distraction while their parents deal with the stress of self representation can be invaluable. Two titles — Luis Goes to Court, and Let’s Learn a Little about The Law — can be requested at the Law Library Reference Desk or downloaded by clicking on the images below.

More Coloring Fun


For Fun: Colorful Facts About Coloring Books for Adults

At its peak in 2016, the adult coloring book craze attracted all kinds of media attention. It was also big business. Plenty of trend watchers theorized about why and how the frenzy evolved. A fair number of critics were among them, deriding those who claimed that coloring is a path to mindfulness and creative expression. Regardless, coloring as a meditative activity for adults is still a popular pastime. Other therapeutic activities have gotten a lot of attention in recent months, but simply putting colored pencil on paper is, for many, still a very satisfying activity.

Our advice: Find your favorite online source for printable coloring pages, and cue up this song to supplement your coloring joy. You may discover that, yes, coloring books (like those featured above) can be educational and interactive learning tools for children, but for adults, they are purely fun. Happy National Coloring Book Day!