On Thursday, February 27, 2014, the Supreme Court of Texas will hear arguments in two cases. The arguments will be heard in the Hill County Courthouse in Hillsboro. Arguments will start at 10:00 am (instead of the typical 9:00 am).
If you want to attend the arguments, you should contact Hill County Assistant District Attorney Nicole Crain at 254-582-4070 to check on seating availability. Many of the seats will be filled by high school students from eleven Hill County high schools. Or you can just watch the webcast here. I have confirmed with the clerk's office that the arguments will be webcast.
The two cases set for argument are:
No. 12-0675, Patel et al. v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation et al. - This case arises from the State's regulation of "eyebrow threading." Several practitioners challenged the state's requirement that they complete cosmetology training and obtain cosmetology licenses. The challengers brought claims under the Due Course of Law Clause in the Texas Constitution. The primary issues are (1) whether the State is immune from the claims; (2) whether the challengers adequately pleaded an ultra vires claim against state officials; (3) whether the challengers' claims are ripe; and (4) whether the challengers' claims should be reviewed under a "rational basis" standard or a "real and substantial" test. (In the interest of full disclosure, I filed an amicus brief in this case on one portion of the subject-matter jurisdiction dispute. The brief was not filed in support of either party).
No. 13-0234, Gilbert Wheeler, Inc. v. Enbridge Pipelines (East Texas), L.P. - This breach-of-contract and trespass case arises from the construction of a pipeline. The agreement between the landowner and the pipeline owner required the pipeline to be installed using a boring method rather than excavation, to protect trees on the property. Despite the agreement, the pipeline was installed using excavation, which destroyed the trees at issue. After the jury found for the landowners, the trial court awarded damages in the form of cost to restore the property. The issues are whether that was a proper measure of damages and whether the landowners waived their claims by failing to obtain a jury finding about whether the damage to the property was temporary or permanent.
-- Rich Phillips, Thompson & Knight