The Corner

The Curious and Curiouser Case of Wallace Hall

In the course of my reporting on the absurd attempt to impeach University of Texas regent Wallace Hall, it was suggested to me that one of the legislators leading the impeachment push was one of the same legislators who had sought preferential treatment for their children in admissions to the University of Texas law school. Today I put the question to Representative Jim Pitts, chairman of the powerful house appropriations committee in the Texas legislature. Representative Pitts’s son is a recent graduate of the UT law school. Representative Pitts responded angrily to the suggestion that he might have a personal interest in not seeing Mr. Hall’s investigatory work made public, but he did not deny having intervened with the law school on behalf of his son. His full response reads:

As a parent, I find it truly disgraceful that some are trying to drag my children—or the children of other legislators—into a debate over governance at the University of Texas System and the possible impeachment of Wallace Hall. This is nothing more than a pathetic, cowardly attempt by Mr. Hall’s allies—and possibly Mr. Hall himself—to distract from important questions about whether our flagship university system is being run appropriately. Any parent whose child has ever sought admission at the University of Texas should be deeply concerned that Mr. Hall’s allies would share children’s confidential admissions information with the news media in order to fulfill their insatiable appetite for harassing UT students and employees.

But of course a personal interest of that sort in the case is far from being a distraction. If Representative Pitts did indeed seek preferential treatment for his son at the UT law school, then he should recuse himself from the matter in the legislature, because it touches him personally. If he did not do so, then he should do himself a favor and say as much. Surely some of his constituents have children who applied to the prestigious UT law school and failed to gain admission, and no doubt they will have some opinions about the matter.

There remains the matter of a Texas state senator who also sought preferential treatment for an applicant, and who Mr. Hall suggests did so in a manner that suggested a crude legislative quid pro quo. I expect to have more on that soon. 

If Representative Pitts does not have the good sense to clarify this matter, then his colleagues in the legislature owe it to themselves and to their constituents to do so for him.

For the record, I have not spoken with Mr. Hall about this matter. His attorney, with whom I did speak, did not suggest that Representative Pitts was the preference-seeking legislator in question. 

Most Popular

White House

Another Warning Sign

The Mueller report is of course about Russian interference in the 2016 election and about the White House's interference in the resulting investigation. But I couldn’t help also reading the report as a window into the manner of administration that characterizes the Trump era, and therefore as another warning ... Read More
White House

The Mueller Report Should Shock Our Conscience

I've finished reading the entire Mueller report, and I must confess that even as a longtime, quite open critic of Donald Trump, I was surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and brazenness of the lies, falsehoods, and misdirections detailed by the Special Counsel's Office. We've become accustomed to Trump making up ... Read More

What’s So Great about Western Civilization

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Redacted: Harm to Ongoing Matter), One of the things I tell new parents is something that was told to me when my daughter still had that ... Read More
Film & TV

Jesus Is Not the Joker

Actors love to think they can play anything, but the job of any half-decent filmmaker is to tell them when they’re not right for a part. If the Rock wants to play Kurt Cobain, try to talk him out of it. Adam Sandler as King Lear is not a great match. And then there’s Joaquin Phoenix. He’s playing Jesus ... Read More

Screw York Yankees

You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks. The team I have rooted for since 1965, when I first visited the House that Ruth Built, where I hawked peanuts and ice cream a lifetime ago, watched countless games (Guidry striking out 18!), has gotten so ... Read More