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The Common Law
People's law school
Columns  February 16, 2007, by Luke Ellis
"...Anyone who enjoys "The Common Law" should attend the People's Law School on Saturday, Feb. 24, on the UT Law School campus..."

The Common Law
People's Law School
Columns  February 18, 2005, by Luke Ellis
"...What is the People's Law School?..."

The Common Law
Common law divorce?
Columns  February 17, 2006, by Luke Ellis
"...I am in a common law marriage, but we are having major problems and I want a divorce. Is there such a thing as common law divorce? How is the process of getting a divorce from a common law marriage any different from a traditional marriage?..."

The Common Law
Law can be cool – Attend 'Explore UT' at the Law School
Columns  March 3, 2006, by Luke Ellis
"...Anyone interested in the law should think about attending Explore UT this Saturday on the UT-Austin campus. Explore UT is a free event that invites Texans to experience the rich resources of a world-class university..."

The Common Law
Effects of common-law marriage in Texas
Columns  October 22, 2004, by Luke Ellis
"...How can a couple validate a common-law marriage so that it is legally recognized?..."

BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Anti-Abortion Law HB 2
In a 5-3 ruling, SCOTUS says HB 2 creates an undue burden for women
DAILY News  June 27, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"...In a historic victory for reproductive rights, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down two key parts of Texas’ draconian omnibus law, House Bill 2...."

The Common Law
Explore UT
Columns  March 4, 2005, by Luke Ellis
"...Anyone interested in the law should think about attending Explore UT this Saturday on the UT-Austin campus. Explore UT is a free event that invites Texans to experience the rich resources of a world-class university..."

The Common Law
Common-law marriage in Texas
Columns  October 15, 2004, by Luke Ellis
"...I have lived with my boyfriend for the last three years. Does that mean that we are common-law married?..."

Dozens of Groups File Briefs Against Texas Abortion Law
Diverse array of organizations submit 45 briefs to SCOTUS opposing HB 2
DAILY News  January 5, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"...A wide-ranging group of respected organizations, prominent individuals, and government agencies are in consensus: House Bill 2, the draconian multi-part Texas abortion law, is harmful to women...."

Judge Throws Out Texas Voter ID Law
Compares photo requirement to Jim Crow, poll tax
DAILY News  October 10, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...The ruling is in. A Federal judge has found that Texas' voter ID law is "an unconstitutional poll tax [and] creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose."..."

Lawsuit Challenges New Ultrasound-Before-Abortion Law
CRR files suit in Texas
DAILY News  June 13, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...This just in: The Center for Reproductive Rights today filed suit in federal court in Austin, challenging the newly-codified mandatory ultrasound-before-abortion law...."

Judge: Medi-Pot Law Not in Conflict With Federal Prohibition
DAILY News  November 22, 2006, by Jordan Smith
"...San Diego, Calif., Superior Court Judge William Nevitt has issued a tentative ruling that rejects a lawsuit brought by San Diego Co. supervisors – joined by officials in San Bernardino and Merced Cos..."

This banal and lukewarm slice of romantic comedy is as soft and ephemeral as any colorized Ted Turner outing.
Film Review  May 13, 2005, by Marc Savlov
"...Apparently not. Monster-in-Law is a banal and lukewarm slice of romantic comedy and family histrionics that is as soft and ephemeral as any colorized Ted Turner outing..."

The Common Law
Bike Helmets for Adults – What's the Current Law?
Columns  March 14, 2008, by Luke Ellis
"...I heard a new law passed that makes adults have to wear helmets when riding a bike. Is that true?..."

The Common Law
Cars – the Texas Lemon Law (part 2)
Columns  April 9, 2004, by Luke Ellis
"...Being sure your car qualifies as a lemon can actually be one of the most difficult parts of the entire Lemon Law process. If your car still qualifies after all the detailed restrictions discussed in last week's column (available at, you are probably so frustrated that nothing would please you more than to use the Lemon Law to end your problems once and for all..."

The Common Law
I have a new car, and it keeps breaking down all the time. I've heard about the Texas Lemon Law, but how do I know if the law can help me?
Columns  April 2, 2004, by Luke Ellis
"...I have a new car, and it keeps breaking down all the time. I've heard about the Texas Lemon Law, but how do I know if the law can help me?..."

Son-in-Law's only real surprise is that it's so much better than it has to be. Of course, you have to be expecting the worst in order to be pleasantly surprised....
Film Review  July 2, 1993, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Starring: Pauly Shore, Carla Gugino, Lane Smith, Cindy Pickett, Mason Adams, Patrick Renna and Dennis Burkley. Son-in-Law's only real surprise is that it's so much better than it has to be..."

Fetal Burial Law Considered in Court
Five-day trial challenges state's latest anti-choice law
News Story  July 19, 2018, by Mary Tuma
"...Norton's ordeal could become the law of the land in Texas if state attorneys win their case this week before U.S. District Judge David Ezra..."

Abbott Signs "Sanctuary Cities" Bill Into Law
Anti-immigrant bill to take effect on Sept. 1
DAILY News  May 7, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...Without warning Sunday evening, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the anti-immigrant Senate Bill 4 into law...."

Federal Court Rejects Texas Voter ID Law
New Texas Voter ID law undermines minority votes
DAILY News  August 30, 2012, by Michael King
"...Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the new state of Texas Voter ID law – which would require all potential voters to provide a narrowly proscribed, government-issued voter identification card – discriminates against minority voters and therefore violates the Voting Rights Act...."

Law Abiding Citizen
Vigilante justice may be just what the law requires in this film starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx.
Film Review  October 16, 2009, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Regina Hall, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb and Michael Irby. What to make of a film that opens with a brutal home invasion which leaves a mother and child dead and then uses that ghastly jumping-off point and all its circumlocutions – legal, moral, and mortal – as an assiduous flaying of the criminal justice system? Sounds promising so far, but Law Abiding Citizen ends on an even grimmer note, stuck fast between righteous indignation at our bankrupt system of jurisprudence and our (presumed) need for heroes that don't cross the line between avenger and terrorist lest they become too existentially real..."

5th Circuit Allows Texas Abortion Law to Take Effect
Three-judge panel stays federal judge ruling
DAILY News  October 2, 2014, by Mary Tuma
"...In an anticipated ruling, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided to immediately enforce Texas’ abortion law, House Bill 2. The decision is widely expected to close all but seven abortion care centers in Texas and impact roughly 1 million women...."

SCOTUS Overturns Most of Arizona Immigration Law
Court also outlaws life-without-parole for juveniles
DAILY News  June 25, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...The US Supreme Court today overruled significant portions of Arizona's controversial immigration law. In a separate case, the Supremes ruled that life-without-parole for juvenile murder defendants violates the 8th Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments...."

Injunction Blocks Abbott Enforcement of Ballot Law
DAILY News  November 1, 2006, by Lee Nichols
"...District Judge T. John Ward issued a preliminary injunction blocking state Attorney General Greg Abbott from what plaintiffs, including the Texas Democratic Party, described as overzealous enforcement of a ballot-handling law. The plaintiffs had sued Abbott because he had prosecuted 13 individuals for possessing the ballots of other voters..."

Council Takes a Stand Against Texas Abortion Law
Resolution to repeal HB 2 unanimously passes Council
DAILY News  September 25, 2014, by Mary Tuma
"...Earlier today, Austin City Council passed a resolution that supports the full repeal of Texas’ abortion law, House Bill 2...."

Massachusetts Pot Law: Serious Problem or Sour Grapes?
Cops in Massachusetts are complaining that new pot decrim measure there is too complicated to enforce
DAILY News  January 7, 2009, by Jordan Smith
"...According to the Boston Globe, police departments across the state say they're not going to enforce the new law, which decriminalizes possession of up to an ounce of pot by adults and provides only for a civil fine of $100. The measure, known as Question 2, earned 65% of the vote..."

The Common Law
Listen up – burning CDs and copyright law
Columns  March 24, 2006, by Luke Ellis
"...Technically, the answer is yes. Under general copyright law, distributing a copy of copyrighted materials (like a music CD) can only be done with the permission of the copyright holder (usually the artist or record label)..."

The Common Law
Can I cancel an order and get my money back because the item is taking so long to get here?
Columns  December 26, 2003, by Luke Ellis
"...According to federal law, a mail-order company is required to send you the product you ordered within a reasonable time after you place your order. Some companies will include how long it will take to deliver the product in their catalogs..."

Herod's Law
Unflinching satire is diminished by overwritten messages.
Film Review  September 5, 2003, by Marrit Ingman
"...Starring: Damián Alcázar, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Leticia Huijara, Salvador Sánchez, Alex Cox, Eduardo López Rojas and Isela Vega. Herod’s Law starts out with a bang..."

5th Circuit Upholds Sanctuary Cities Law
ACLU in response: "All legal options" on the table
DAILY News  March 14, 2018, by Mary Tuma
"...The conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided yesterday (Tuesday) that the bulk of Texas’ anti-immigrant Senate Bill 4 can stay in place for now. The ruling overturns a San Antonio judge’s order that found parts of the law unconstitutional in August...."

Family Law Attorneys Say Keller Is Innocent
Veteran practitioners support Fran Keller's bid for freedom
DAILY News  February 20, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...A group of influential local family law attorneys, psychologists, and social workers have filed a court brief expressing their support for Frances Keller, who was convicted in 1992 of the sexual assault of a child – a crime that many, including the signers of the brief, believe never happened...."

The Common Law
Dog law – dogs can't be 'trusted'
Columns  September 23, 2005, by Luke Ellis
"...No. Texas law does not permit you to leave money directly to your dog (or other household pets)..."

The Common Law
Directive to physicians and family (living wills)
Columns  November 26, 2004, by Luke Ellis
"...What exactly is a living will? Does Texas law recognize living wills?..."

The Common Law
I bounced a check, and now the store is threatening to press criminal charges against me if I don't pay the amount I owe within 48 hours. Can they really do that?
Columns  January 23, 2004, by Luke Ellis
"...You can forget about trying to argue that you had no idea that your account did not have sufficient funds to cover the check. This law presumes that an issuer of a bad check knows that he or she did not have sufficient funds...."

The Common Law
My daughter just turned 14 over the summer, and she keeps talking about getting a job. I thought you had to be at least 16 before you could work legally. Can she really work at only 14?
Columns  October 24, 2003, by Luke Ellis
"...Yes. Federal and Texas law allows 14- and 15-year-olds to be legally employed..."

The Common Law
Boating while intoxicated
Columns  June 24, 2005, by Nicole Clark and Luke Ellis
"...Does the DWI law for driving apply to individuals while boating? Can I have one beer and drive a boat? Is there a "no tolerance" law?..."

The Common Law
My friends have told me that I should use credit cards instead of cash because they offer more protection for consumers. Are they right?
Columns  December 5, 2003, by Luke Ellis
"...Yes, consumers do receive extra protection when they buy with their credit cards. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, a federal law, a credit card company cannot recover money from a consumer's credit card purchase if the merchant who sold the goods or services to the consumer is not legally allowed to recover money for the product...."

Sheryl Cole Re-joins Cole Law Firm
Former Mayor Pro Tem returns to law practice
DAILY News  May 12, 2015, by Michael King
"...Offering friends and supporters a “big hug,” former Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole said farewell (at least temporarily) to local politics this week – she is returning to the law firm founded in 2004 with her husband, Kevin Cole, and other attorneys. Her practice will focus on “community affairs, government relations, and public finance.”..."

Fifth Circuit Says Sonogram Law Fine
Overturns Judge Sparks' injunction
DAILY News  January 10, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today issued a ruling that overturns district Judge Sam Sparks' decision to put on hold implementation of most of the state's controversial ultrasound-before-abortion law...."

Is Texas Breaking the Law?
State poised to execute another Mexican national
DAILY News  June 8, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...If the state of Texas goes through with the planned July 7 execution of Humberto Leal it will be committing an "irreparable breach of international law," attorney Sandra Babcock argues in a clemency petition filed this week with the Board of Pardons and Paroles...."

The Common Law
Revoking a will under Texas law
Columns  February 24, 2006, by Carl Barry
"...The Texas Probate Code is a complex statute, and sometimes the case law is counterintuitive. The effect of not following the exclusive methods of revocation usually results in nonrevocation of the will..."

The Common Law
Power of attorney
Columns  November 19, 2004, by Luke Ellis
"...The power of attorney will last as long as the instrument creating the power allows. This is because under Texas law a durable power of attorney will not lapse due to passage of time unless the instrument creating the power of attorney specifically states a time limitation...."

The Common Law
Some common issues that can arise with your bank
Columns  January 2, 2004, by Luke Ellis
"...The new year often brings about a renewed commitment to organizing our financial affairs. So during the month of January, The Common Law will focus on issues that affect your finances..."

The Common Law
I'm a first-time dog owner. My friend recently told me that I would have to pay for all damages my dog causes if he ever bites someone. Is this right?
Columns  November 7, 2003, by Luke Ellis
"...Under Texas law, an owner will not be responsible for damages the dog causes unless the dog is dangerous and the owner knows of the dog's dangerous tendencies. Texas law defines "dangerous dogs" as those that commit unprovoked acts outside of their normal enclosure which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the dog could attack and cause bodily injury again..."

Law and Order
Trained as a lawyer, Frederick Wiseman aims his documentary camera on social institutions and uses its lens as a tool for muckraking. One of America's most acclaimed documentarians, Wiseman employs...
Film Review  March 26, 2002, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Directed by: Frederick Wiseman. Trained as a lawyer, Frederick Wiseman aims his documentary camera on social institutions and uses its lens as a tool for muckraking..."

Physicians Back Law Change for Marijuana
Doctors support rescheduling of marijuana and call on feds to protect medi-pot patients.
DAILY News  February 18, 2008, by Jordan Smith
"...The American College Of Physicians says the feds should reconsider the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, placing the drug into a "more appropriate schedule, given the scientific evidence regarding marijuana's safety and efficacy in some clinical conditions," and "strongly urges" the government to protect from criminal or civil sanction medi-pot patients who use the drug in accordance with state law. The nation's largest medical specialty organization and second largest physician's group, the ACP on Feb. 15 released a paper containing five positions regarding the medicinal use of marijuana, including its support for "programs and funding for rigorous scientific evaluation of the potential therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana and the publication of such findings." The ACP notes that research supports the use of medi-pot for a number of medical conditions, including glaucoma and as an appetite stimulant for AIDS patients, and that clinical trials and current research shows it may have positive effects in treating neurological problems and when used as an analgesic..."

The Common Law
Listen up – illegal downloads & copyright law
Columns  March 31, 2006, by Luke Ellis
"...Despite recent lawsuits and threats of litigation, the American public is clearly enamored with downloading. One recent poll said that more than 23 million American adults downloaded music in 2004..."

The Common Law
Boating on Town Lake – what's the law?
Columns  March 17, 2006, by Luke Ellis
"...The Texas Water Safety Act is the statewide law that addresses general water safety issues. The fact that there are way too many lakes and rivers for the state to regulate leaves considerable room for other governmental bodies, like the city of Austin, to create ordinances governing specific conduct on their local waterways..."

The Common Law
Wrongful termination
Columns  May 6, 2005, by Luke Ellis and Nathan Moss
"...Can you explain what a wrongful termination suit is? When it comes down to he said/she said between an employer and employee, who does the law favor in a wrongful termination suit?..."

The Common Law
Preparing a will under Texas law
Columns  April 29, 2005, by Luke Ellis and Cherika Proctor
"...What does a person need to do in Texas to make a will? Can they write their own will, or do they need a lawyer to prepare one for them?..."

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