The Corner

A Small Victory in Texas

Among the good news from yesterday’s election in Texas is the victory of reformer Don Huffines over six-term Republican state senator John Carona, one of the figures in the University of Texas clout scandal, in which members of the Texas legislature are believed to have exerted improper influence on admissions to the university and its law school on behalf of their families and political allies. (For my reporting on the role of appropriations committee chairman Jim Pitts, start here.)

The defeat of Carona — whose son, together with the children of state senator Judith Zaffirini and Jim Pitts, managed to lower the law school’s bar-passage rate all on their own, these fortune sons having failed the exam eight times between the three of them — is an implicit victory for embattled University of Texas regent Wallace Hall, who has been the target of impeachment proceedings in the legislature as retaliation for his role in bringing to light this scandal and other questionable behavior on the part of the university’s administration.

When politicians lean on the university for special consideration of their friends and family, that is a scandal in and of itself, but the real abuse of power in this story is the attempt to impeach Mr. Hall, an exemplary regent, for having the integrity to do his job and attempt to exercise some oversight of the university and its stewardship of public resources.  


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