26 St. Mary's L.J. 339 (1994-1995)
The Texas Homestead: The Last Bulwark of Liberty

handle is hein.journals/stmlj26 and id is 351 raw text is: THE TEXAS HOMESTEAD: THE LAST BULWARK OF
LIBERTY
HENRY B. GONZALEZ*
I. Introduction ....        ............................ 339
II.  H istorical A nalysis .....................................  341
III. Protection Against Unscrupulous Lenders ............ 344
IV. Impact of Homestead Protection During the 1980s ... 347
V .  Conclusion  .............................................  349
I. INTRODUCTION
The Texas Constitution contains many rights and liberties for the
protection and benefit of the state's citizens that reflect the specific
influences of events, cultures, and individuals on the development
of legal principles and political values in the state. Unique among
these treasured liberties is the protection of a person's homestead
from forced sale or foreclosure by creditors.' For more than 155
years and across numerous generations, Texans have adamantly
supported the principle that the fundamental need for shelter justi-
fies strict constitutional protection of homes from creditors in all
but a few situations.2
The cherished home equity protection has been under sustained
attack for several years by a group of bankers and other financiers
for whom a homestead is nothing more than a type of collateral
and another potential source of profit. Not surprisingly, this group
* Member, United States House of Representatives (D-Tex.); J.D., St. Mary's Uni-
versity School of Law. Congressman Gonzalez was first elected to public office in 1953 as a
member of the San Antonio City Council, on which he served until 1956. From 1957 to
1961, he served as a member of the Texas Senate. In 1961, Congressman Gonzalez re-
signed his position as state senator to run for the United States House of Representatives,
where he has continuously served since that year. From 1989 to 1994, he chaired the
House Committee on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, a position he has held since
1989.
1. TEx. CONST. art. XVI,  50.
2. The Texas Constitution allows foreclosure only in the case of a first mortgage, a
home improvement loan, or a tax lien. Id.

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