Samuel Biery

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Samuel Biery
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
Title:   Chief Judge
Position:   Seat #9
Station:   San Antonio, TX
Service:
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   03/11/1994 - Present
Chief:   2010 - Present
Preceded by:   104 Stat. 5089
Past post:   Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals, Judge
Past term:   1989 - 1994
Personal History
Born:   1947
Hometown:   McAllen, TX
Undergraduate:   Texas Lutheran College, B.A., 1970
Law School:   Southern Methodist U. Law, J.D., 1973
Military service:   U.S. Army, Reserves 1970 - 1976

Samuel Frederick Biery, Jr. is the Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. He joined the court in 1994 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.[1] Biery has served as the Chief Judge since June 1, 2010. He succeeded Walter Smith, Jr..[2]

Early life and education

A native Texan, Biery graduated from Texas Lutheran College with his bachelor's degree in 1970 and later graduated from Southern Methodist University School of Law with his J.D. in 1973. Biery also served in the US Army Reserve from 1970 to 1976.[1]

Professional career

Biery started his legal career as a private practice attorney licensed in the State of Texas from 1973 to 1978. Biery spent his entire private practice tenure with the San Antonio based Law Firm of Biery, Biery, Davis and Myers. In 1979, Biery first began his judicial career as a County Court Judge in the Bexar County from 1979 to 1982. In 1983, Biery was promoted to District Court Judge in the 150th District Court of Texas from 1983 to 1988 based in Bexar County. In 1989, Biery was appointed by Texas Governor Bill Clements as a Justice for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals of Texas from 1989 to 1994.[1]

Judicial career

Western District of Texas

Biery was nominated by President Bill Clinton on November 19, 1993 to a new seat created by 104 Stat. 5089 which was approved by Congress. Biery was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 10, 1994, on a Senate vote and received commission on March 11, 1994.[1]

Notable cases

Judge adds humor to strip club case (2013)

     United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (35 Bar and Grille LLC v. The City of San Antonio, 5:13-cv-00034-FB)

Judge Biery made national news for his turns of phrase in 35 Bar and Grille v. The City of San Antonio in April 2013, officially referring to the decision as The Case of the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Bikini Top v. The (More) Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Pastie. In the case, a gentleman's club in San Antonio circumvented a 2005 ordinance which would have deemed the business a "human display establishment," leading to greater regulation and permitting issues. That ordinance was challenged in 2009 on the basis of First Amendment rights and the Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals found that the ordinance did not violate the dancers' right to freedom of speech.[3][4]

Following the state court ruling, the clubs found a loophole around the ordinance by allowing their dancers to wear pasties and thong underwear. In 2012, the City of San Antonio specified the ordinance, providing specific regulations as to what could be worn in these clubs. This case challenged the strengthened regulations; again the plaintiffs challenged based on First Amendment rights, which the city denied based on licensing options. Or, as Judge Biery stated, "Plaintiffs clothe themselves in the First Amendment seeking to provide cover against another alleged naked grab of constitutional power."[5]

Judge Biery denied the injunction of the ordinance as requested by the plaintiffs, finding that the group was unlikely "to prevail based on the merit of their claims."[6]

School prayer case (2012)

     United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (Schultz v. Medina Valley Independent School District, 5:11-cv-00422-FB)

In February 2012, Judge Biery presided over the settlement of the case Schultz v. Medina Valley Independent School District, a controversial case which challenged the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The case was filed by parents of two children in the district, who disagreed with sanctioned prayers at school events. The reached settlement specifically outlines all instances where prayer may and may not be mentioned, from graduation speeches to football games, in addition to training staff on proper use of religious language and non-retaliation towards students.

To read through the allowed activities, see: United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Schultz v. Medina Valley Independent School District, Appendix I.

Judge Biery faced threats for his decision in the case, leading to increased protection from the U.S. Marshal Service. Biery added a personal statement to his ruling, addressing those threats:

To the United States Marshal Service and local police who have provided heightened security: Thank you.

To those Christians who have venomously and vomitously cursed the Court family and threatened bodily harm and assassination: In His name, I forgive you.

To those who have prayed for my death: Your prayers will someday be answered, as inevitability trumps probability.

To those in executive and legislative branches of government who have demagogued this case for their own political goals: You should be ashamed of yourselves.

To the lawyers who have advocated professionally and respectfully for their clients respective positions: Bless you."[7] [8]

See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
NA-New Seat
Western District of Texas
2010–Current
Seat #9
Succeeded by:
NA


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