This dissertation is an historical study of efforts, primarily by federal district judges, to manage growth, change, and conflict in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas during the second half of the twentieth century. Examples of judicial management as I use the phrase encompass a wide variety of activities the federal district judges in the Southern District have undertaken since the 1950s. The judges were required to cope with institutional growth, they felt obliged to foster social change, and they were called on to resolve political conflict.
This dissertation examines ways in which various modes of judicial management were manifested in federal trials concerned broadly with civil rights, economic issues, and criminal justice. These three legal, topics exist within specific statutory and doctrinal frameworks that have evolved over the past half century. I will discuss relevant developments in the law pertaining. to the major topics as necessary. However, this dissertation is neither a study of the statutory changes within these three legal categories, nor primarily a study of changes in the theory and practice of judicial management of dockets, cases, or institutions. Rather, I employ these fundamental elements in combination in an attempt to portray a sense of the legal, social, and organizational changes which have transpired over several critical decades in the history of the Southern District of Texas.