Richards v. League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), No. D-2197

CourtSupreme Court of Texas
Writing for the CourtPHILLIPS
Citation868 S.W.2d 306
Decision Date06 October 1993
Docket NumberNo. D-2197
PartiesAnn RICHARDS, Governor of the State of Texas, et al., Appellants, v. LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS (LULAC), et al., Appellees.

Page 306

868 S.W.2d 306
Ann RICHARDS, Governor of the State of Texas, et al., Appellants,
v.
LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS (LULAC), et al., Appellees.
No. D-2197.
Supreme Court of Texas.
Oct. 6, 1993.
Rehearing Overruled Feb. 2, 1994.

Page 307

Javier Aguilar, Houston, Dan Morales, Richard E. Gray, III, Roger Moore, Austin, for appellants.

Page 308

Albert H. Kauffman, Norma V. Cantu, Guadalupe Luna, Judith A. Sanders-Castro, San Antonio, Donald Branson, Brian Ganson, Brownsville, Susan Brown, San Francisco, CA, Antonia Hernandez, E. Richard Larson, Los Angeles, CA, Yolanda L. Garza, San Benito, John F. Hood, Brownsville, for appellees.

Opinion

PHILLIPS, Chief Justice.

This class action challenges the constitutionality of the Texas system of higher education 1. Plaintiffs contend that the policies and practices of defendants, who are State officials and regents of public universities, have denied Mexican Americans who reside in the border area of Texas participation in quality higher education programs and access to equal higher education resources. The trial court rendered a declaratory judgment that the higher education system was unconstitutional under the Texas Constitution and enjoined defendants from giving any force or effect to the higher education appropriation acts of the Texas Legislature. The State perfected a direct appeal to this Court pursuant to TEX.GOV'T.CODE § 22.001(c). We reverse the judgment of the trial court and render judgment in favor of defendants.

I.

Nine Mexican American organizations and fifteen Mexican American individual plaintiffs filed this action on behalf of a class later certified as follows:

All persons of Mexican--(Hispanic) ancestry who reside in the Border Area consisting of these forty-one contiguous counties along the border in Texas 2 and who are now or will be students at Texas public senior colleges and universities or health related institutions (or who would be or would have been students at Texas public senior colleges and universities or health related institutions were it not for the resource allocation policies and practices complained of in Plaintiffs' petition). This class does not include persons with claims for specific monetary or compensatory relief.

Named as defendants were Ann Richards, Governor of Texas; Dr. Kenneth H. Ashworth, Commissioner of Higher Education; Harry Reasoner, Chair, and each individual member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (Board); and the chancellors and regents of eleven universities or university systems in Texas. Plaintiffs alleged discrimination in the allocation of resources in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs to the border area schools. Specifically, they contended that defendants have placed academic programs and physical facilities where they were largely inaccessible to border area residents and have funded the institutions in the border area at lower levels than other institutions. This conduct, they charged, violates article I, sections 3 and 3a and article VII, sections 1 and 10-18 of the Texas Constitution, and TEX.CIV.PRAC. & REM.CODE § 106.001 et seq.

The Reynaldo G. Garza School of Law intervened in the suit, incorporating plaintiffs' contentions and alleging more particularly that the Board, in exercising its responsibility for developing education programs and determining the status of degree-granting institutions, had interfered with the school's degree-granting authority. The school asked that the Board be enjoined from obstructing any plans that might be brought

Page 309

forward by institutions for the development of curricula such as law in the border area.

Although the case was tried to a jury, at the close of evidence the trial court granted plaintiffs' motions for instructed verdict and for uncontroverted fact findings on certain statistical matters. Among these were the following: (1) about 20% of all Texans live in the border area, yet only about 10% of the State funds spent for public universities are spent on public universities in that region; (2) about 54% of the public university students in the border area are Hispanic, as compared to 7% in the rest of Texas; (3) the average public college or university student in the rest of Texas must travel 45 miles from his or her home county to the nearest public university offering a broad range of masters and doctoral programs, but the average border area student must travel 225 miles; (4) only three of the approximately 590 doctoral programs in Texas are at border area universities; (5) about 15% of the Hispanic students from the border area who attend a Texas public university are at a school with a broad range of masters and doctoral programs, as compared to 61% of public university students in the rest of Texas; (6) the physical plant value per capita and number of library volumes per capita for public universities in the border area are approximately one-half of the comparable figures for non-border universities; and (7) these disparities exist against a history of discriminatory treatment of Mexican Americans in the border area (with regard to education and otherwise), and against a present climate of economic disadvantage for border area residents.

Defendants presented uncontroverted evidence that funding of higher education in Texas is currently based on facially neutral formulas. The formulas apply a different multiplier for credit hours taught in various disciplines and at various levels of study. Because of greater equipment needs and a more competitive hiring market for faculty, for instance, science classes have a higher funding rate than English classes. Also, because student-faculty ratios are lower and individual student supervision is more rigorous at the graduate level, masters and doctoral credit hours have a higher multiplier under the formula than do undergraduate courses.

The Board, which was created in 1965 to harmonize the funding requests the Legislature receives each year from the State's colleges and universities, recommends funding to the Legislature based on this formula and the number of students enrolled in the various types of classes at each school during the previous year. The Legislature, which is not a defendant in this suit, then appropriates money to the particular institutions. For several years preceding this suit, the Legislature declined to appropriate the full amount recommended under the formula. Instead, it gave an across-the-board percentage of the formula, supplemented by special item appropriations to particular institutions.

Defendants also presented evidence that the course offerings of the various universities, which result in disparate levels of funding under the formula, are not the product of discrimination against border area schools. After the faculty, administration, and board of regents of a university decide that the school ought to offer a particular program of study, the university submits a proposal to the Board. The Board makes a determination based on need for the program (i.e., duplication of other programs in the State or the particular area, and numbers of graduates of existing programs), cost, and any arrangement the university has made for start-up funding. Since its inception, the Board has approved 93.6% of the programs requested by schools in the border area, compared to only 79.5% of requests from schools in the rest of the State.

The first jury question asked whether each defendant had "treat[ed] Plaintiffs differently, to their detriment, at least in part because Plaintiffs are Mexican Americans, in the process that leads to program approval or allocation of funds for Texas public institutions of higher education." The Texas Higher Education System was defined in the jury charge as "the laws, policies, practices, organizations, entities and programs that have created, developed or maintained Texas public universities and professional schools," and the jurors were instructed that if the Texas

Page 310

Higher Education System treated plaintiffs differently at least in part because they were Mexican American, then defendants did so for that reason. The jury answered "No" for every defendant, and also found that defendants had not treated the Reynaldo G. Garza School of Law differently.

In answer to other questions, however, the jury did find that: (1) the Legislature had "failed to establish, organize or provide for the maintenance, support or direction of a system of education in which the Plaintiffs have substantially equal access to a 'University of the First Class' "; (2) the Legislature had "failed to make suitable provisions for the support or maintenance of an Efficient System of public universities"; (3) the State could "have reasonably located and developed university programs that provided more equal access to higher educational opportunities to Mexican Americans in the Border Region"; and (4) the Board's policies and practices toward the Reynaldo G. Garza School of Law "impaired the equal availability of legal education to Mexican Americans in South Texas."

Based on the directed verdict, uncontroverted fact findings, and jury verdict, the trial court rendered a declaratory judgment that the Texas Higher Education System violates the Constitution and laws of Texas. The trial court enjoined defendants from giving any force and effect to the sections of the Texas Education Code and the present or future appropriation acts relating to the financing of public universities and professional schools. The trial court stayed its injunction until May 1, 1993, to allow the State time to enact a constitutionally sufficient plan for funding the public universities. This stay was later extended by this Court until final resolution of the appeal. 863 S.W.2d 449 (1993). Defendants bring this direct appeal.

II.

Article I, § 3, the equal rights clause of the Texas Constitution, provides:

All free men, when they form a...

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23 practice notes
  • Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth v. Episcopal Church, No. 11–0265.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • March 21, 2014
    ...623, 625 (Tex.1996); Edgewood Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Meno, 917 S.W.2d 717, 727 (Tex.1995); Richards v. League of United Latin Am. Citizens, 868 S.W.2d 306, 308 (Tex.1993); Tex. Ass'n of Bus. v. Tex. Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 442 (Tex.1993); Orange Cnty. v. Ware, 819 S.W.2d 472, 473 (Te......
  • Ho v. University of Texas at Arlington, No. 07-98-0062-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • November 4, 1998
    ...a rational relationship exists between the classification and the governmental interest. Richards v. League of United Latin Am. Citizens, 868 S.W.2d 306, 310-11 (Tex.1993). In gender classification cases, the state is required to prove that its classification bears a close and substantial r......
  • Manley v. Tex. S. Univ., Civil Action No. H–14–2749.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • May 12, 2015
    ...shown that the TAAS test itself is rooted in that history" (citing Fordice )); Richards v. League of United Latin Am. Citizens (LULAC), 868 S.W.2d 306, 315 (Tex.1993) (rejecting the plaintiffs' challenge to the State's "allocation of resources in undergraduate, graduate, and professional pr......
  • Neeley v. West Orange-Cove, No. 04-1144.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • December 16, 2005
    ...202. E.g., General Tire, Inc. v. Kepple, 970 S.W.2d 520, 526 (Tex.1998). 203. See Richards v. League of United Latin Am. Citizens, 868 S.W.2d 306, 310-311 204. West Orange-Cove I, 107 S.W.3d at 571 (quoting Edgewood IV, 917 S.W.2d at 730 n. 8). 205. Id. 206. Id. at 563 (citing Marbury v. Ma......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth v. Episcopal Church, No. 11–0265.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • March 21, 2014
    ...623, 625 (Tex.1996); Edgewood Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Meno, 917 S.W.2d 717, 727 (Tex.1995); Richards v. League of United Latin Am. Citizens, 868 S.W.2d 306, 308 (Tex.1993); Tex. Ass'n of Bus. v. Tex. Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 442 (Tex.1993); Orange Cnty. v. Ware, 819 S.W.2d 472, 473 (Te......
  • Ho v. University of Texas at Arlington, No. 07-98-0062-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • November 4, 1998
    ...a rational relationship exists between the classification and the governmental interest. Richards v. League of United Latin Am. Citizens, 868 S.W.2d 306, 310-11 (Tex.1993). In gender classification cases, the state is required to prove that its classification bears a close and substantial r......
  • Manley v. Tex. S. Univ., Civil Action No. H–14–2749.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • May 12, 2015
    ...shown that the TAAS test itself is rooted in that history" (citing Fordice )); Richards v. League of United Latin Am. Citizens (LULAC), 868 S.W.2d 306, 315 (Tex.1993) (rejecting the plaintiffs' challenge to the State's "allocation of resources in undergraduate, graduate, and professional pr......
  • Neeley v. West Orange-Cove, No. 04-1144.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • December 16, 2005
    ...202. E.g., General Tire, Inc. v. Kepple, 970 S.W.2d 520, 526 (Tex.1998). 203. See Richards v. League of United Latin Am. Citizens, 868 S.W.2d 306, 310-311 204. West Orange-Cove I, 107 S.W.3d at 571 (quoting Edgewood IV, 917 S.W.2d at 730 n. 8). 205. Id. 206. Id. at 563 (citing Marbury v. Ma......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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