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Michael Olivas To Discuss Hernández v. Texas Case Oct. 1


Professor Michael A. Olivas, an education and immigration law expert and scholar at the University of Houston Law Center, will deliver a Dean’s Lecture on Monday, Oct. 1, at Yale Law School titled “‘Colored Men’ and ‘Hombres Aqui’:  Hernández v. Texas and the Emergence of Mexican-American Lawyering.”

The lecture, based on Professor Olivas’ recent book by the same title, will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Room 127.  A reception follows in the Alumni Reading Room, during which Professor Olivas will sign copies of his book.  The book is available for sale at the Yale Bookstore.

Professor Olivas is the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law and Director of the Institute of Higher Education Law & Governance at the University of Houston Law Center. He has written a book on Hernández v. Texas, the first case brought by Mexican American lawyers before the U.S. Supreme Court. Decided the week before Brown v. Board of Education, it overturned an all-white jury murder conviction of Pete Hernandez in Edna, Texas, and held that the prejudice and discrimination against Mexican Americans in Texas were so pervasive that the conviction had not been determined by a jury of his peers. The Texas lawyers tried the Hernández case in Jackson County, Texas, a town that was too dangerous for them to stay overnight

“This case is about the arc of lawyering for a subordinated caste of people,” says Olivas. “These lawyers could not even stay the night in that little town, and yet Texas argued that Mexican Americans were not being excluded from juries in Jim Crow Texas. In 1952, there had never been a Latino juror in over 6,000 jury selections, in a county that was 15% Mexican. These courageous lawyers fought against a stacked system, and prevailed.”

Professor Olivas is an expert on higher education law, immigration law and policy, student higher education financing and financial aid issues. He founded the Institute for Higher Education Law & Governance in 1982. He holds a B.A. from Pontifical College Josephinum, an M.A. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University and a J.D. from Georgetown University.