Robinson, Mary Lou 1998-08-31

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Judge Mary Lou Robinson discusses her career and the legal profession.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Mary Lou Robinson

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: August 31, 1998

Location: Amarillo, Texas

Interviewer: Fred Allison

Length: 1 hour 45 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Change in nature of law, Laws have basically stayed the same, Technology, Genetic research, Computers, Opinion—these two will have an impact on the law, Fundamentals of law the same, but the applications have become complicated, Change in the behavior of society, Civil rights movement, Mary Lou Robinson, Born: 1926 in Dodge City, Kansas, Amarillo, Texas, Since 1932 or 1933, Changes, Development, Interest in law, Interest began in the 7th grade, Father: telegrapher for the Santa Fe Railroad, Mother: head of personnel at the post office, Education, Graduated from Amarillo High School, Amarillo College, Job—Secretary at Amarillo High School, University of Texas (Austin), Job—worked at a photo supply house, University of Texas Law School, Job—worked for a Texas legislator and General Land Office, University of Texas Law School (again), 1,000 students, 6 of whom were women, Took five and a half years to complete undergraduate and law school work, Albert James Robinson, husband, Mary Lou Robinson, Strueber (maiden name), Opened law firm with husband in Austin, A. J. Robinson (again), A Marine, Held in Japanese prison camp for 3 1/2 years, Law Practice, Moved from Austin to Amarillo, A. J. Robinson (again), Appointed District Attorney by Gov. Allan Shivers, Mary Lou Robinson (again), Appointed 1^st judge of the Potter County Court of Law (1955), District Judge, Ran twice, was elected each time, Court of Appeals, Appointed, Later appointed chief justice of court, U. S. District Judge, Appointed by Jimmy Carter for the Northern District, of Texas, Amarillo Division (1979), Other perceptions of Robinson, Being a working mother.

Tape 1, Side 2: Community activities, Mainly work related, Changes for women in society, Opposition, Jobs in law, Hopwood Case, (Affirmative action case), Opinions, Activist judges, Judges, Make common law, Opinions, Potter County issues, Government condemning land to build the Amarillo, Air Force Base, Drug case (late 1950s), Political, Racial bias, Amarillo (again), Civil rights movement (again), Integrated before litigation, Conservative, but open-minded, Stories of segregation to integration, Fairness.

Tape 2, Side 1: Cattle ranchers vs. Oprah Winfrey case, Sued Oprah for comment made on her talk show, News media, No cameras allowed in courtroom, First Amendment, Question of how far a celebrity can go with statements, The intent of cattlemen was to prove comments made effected the cattle market, Jury decided she had not made slanderous comments, Cases, Amarillo Bar Association, Lawyers, Good as those anywhere else, Talk to each other, Lubbock lawyers, Change in the legal profession, More of a business now, Quality of new lawyers, Sharp, Good people, Quality and quantity of lawyers.

Tape 2, Side 2: Court reform, Changes, Current Amarillo litigation, Prison litigation, Prisoner files lawsuit (250 on docket) against, prison employees and system, (Ends after 15 minutes).

Range Dates: 1926-1998

Bulk Dates: 1926-1998

Access Information

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Recording Format Notes:


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