April 23, 2014 Watershed Hispanic Rights Legal Case Explored
Hernández v. Texas to be Discussed to Commemorate 60th Anniversary
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A senior U.S District Court judge from Texas and the director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will deliver a lecture on the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Hernández v. Texas at the Library of Congress Mumford Room in the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. on Thursday, May 1, 2014 from 7 to 9 p.m. The talk commemorates the 60th anniversary of Hernández v. Texas, a case that helped ensure that Latino defendants in Texas were able to appear in court before juries that did not systematically exclude their Latino peers.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Library of Congress Hispanic Cultural Society in association with the Library’s Office of Opportunity, Inclusiveness and Compliance.
Hernández v. Texas led to a unanimous 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering a new trial for Pedro Hernández, a Mexican agricultural worker convicted of murder. Hernández’s lawyers appealed the conviction on grounds that no Mexican-American jurors had served on any jury in Jackson County, where Hernández was convicted, in more than 25 years. The high court’s ruling, based on the Equal Protection clause in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, held that the amendment requires nondiscrimination by race not only for white or black persons, but also for members of other classes including people of Hispanic descent.
Speakers will include Senior U.S. District Court Judge Hilda G. Tagle and Veronica Villalobos, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Tagle, who currently holds senior status on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, served as a Nueces County Court judge and on the state’s 148th District Court prior to her 1997 appointment to the federal bench by former President Bill Clinton. She has also provided legal counsel to city and county governments and was an assistant district attorney in Nueces County. She holds a bachelor’s degree from East Texas State University, a master’s from North Texas State University and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.
Villalobos has served in the federal government’s Senior Executive Service since October 2010. She directs OPM’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, managing OPM’s government-wide diversity effort to develop, drive and monitor strategies and initiatives designed to create a more diverse and inclusive federal workforce. Earlier in her career, Villalobos was employed at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as one of the agency’s first Honor Program attorneys. She holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology and a law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law.
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