The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

An Update From Houston


I am grateful for the many well wishes people have sent. I've also scoffed at a few texts reminding me that northern states can handle the warm weather.

Fortunately, the lights have stayed on in our home, so we are warm. Still no running water. Today I did something I would have never thought conceivable in Texas: to create water for flushing the toilets, I chopped up the ice on my patio, and placed the chunks into plastic tubs.

I have been in Houston nearly a decade, and I can count on two hands the number of times the temperature has dipped below freezing. Never, did I think we would have so much ice. And never did I think that I would need to save the ice to ensure we had an ample supply of water. No, we do not own a shovel or an ice pick. Instead, I used a a knife and a spatula, coupled with a broom. It was surprisingly effective.

My community has also opened up the swimming pool, which people are emptying for non-potable water. Some neighbors are going door-to-door, offering jugs of water.

At present, Costco is closed, because there is no power. The other grocery stores that are open have bare shelves.

In the span of a year, a Category 4 hurricane nearly missed Houston, and now this freak snow storm. Please keep all of Texas in your prayers.

Let me leave you with one more thought. The Texas bar exam is slated to begin on February 23, 2021. I can't fathom preparing for the bar without power. Indeed, many of these students registered for February had deferred taking the bar in July, due to COVID. Now, another force majeure intervenes. I hope the National Conference of Bar Examiners provides Texas with some flexibility here.

Update: The Texas Board of Law Examiners has announced accommodations for the weather emergency:

The Board understands that many applicants for the Texas Bar Exam have been without power or water, which has disrupted their bar exam studies and created concern about next week's Texas Bar Exam (UBE). Here's an update and what we can offer to help:

  1. The Texas Bar Exam is part of a multi-state Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), which will be administered remotely as scheduled on February 23-24, 2021.
  2. If you would like to defer to the July 2021 Texas Bar Exam (UBE), please message your analyst and we will transfer you to the July exam. No additional fees will be due.
  3. If you have no power next week and need to take the exam at a hotel, we will reimburse up to $250. Simply message your analyst after the exam and upload a receipt in ATLAS.
  4. If you lose internet connection during an exam session, you will be able to continue working and finish that exam session. If you do not have internet connection to start an exam session, call the BLE at (512) 463-1621 and we will arrange for you to start the session without internet