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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

State Supreme Court will take up same sex marriage appeal

Somehow, this wasn’t the worst thing that happened yesterday. After pressure from Texas GOP leadership, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court on Friday reversed course and agreed to take up a same-sex marriage case. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, the state’s highest civil court will reconsider a Houston case challenging […]

One for the road

How about one last lawsuit against the federal government, for old times’ sake? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday announced he, along with 13 other mostly Republican-led states, would sue the federal government yet again to block a recently finalized federal rule limiting coal mining near waterways. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and […]

Planned Parenthood still in Medicaid

For now, pending judgment. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks on Thursday delayed Planned Parenthood’s ouster from the state’s Medicaid program until Feb. 21. […] During closing arguments Thursday hearing, attorneys from both sides cited clips from the video. Sparks said he wanted all involved to review the video footage and present their findings to […]

Judge affirms Pasadena redistricting order

Back to the previous map, pending appeal. Hours after candidates began filing paperwork to run for city office, a federal judge Wednesday denied a request by Pasadena officials to delay her order that the city election be run under an 2011 election scheme to protect the rights of Latino voters. Chief U.S. District Judge Lee […]

Here we go again with Planned Parenthood and Medicaid

Rooting for another injunction. Texas officials are back in federal court this week over abortion-related policy, this time to defend efforts to oust Planned Parenthood from Medicaid. Planned Parenthood has asked U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks to block the ouster as illegal, unjustified and unfair — an improperly political move that could deprive about 11,000 […]

Pasadena will appeal redistricting ruling

Not a surprise. An attorney representing the city of Pasadena said Tuesday the city will appeal a ruling that found Pasadena deliberately violated the voting rights of its Hispanic population, a move that could have immediate consequences for the city’s upcoming May elections. The attorney, C. Robert Heath, said the city disagreed with Chief U.S. […]

Final ruling in Pasadena redistricting lawsuit

It’s official – back to the original map. With candidate registration set to begin Tuesday, a federal judge Monday prohibited the city of Pasadena from using an unconstitutional redistricting scheme in the upcoming May elections, stating that the scheme violated the voting rights of Latino and Hispanic residents. Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal in […]

City loses appeal of procedural argument in term limits lawsuit

Stay with me, because this is going to take a bit of explaining. A state appeals court on Thursday rejected the city’s procedural challenge to a lawsuit that could force Houston’s mayor and city council members to revert to three two-year terms, from the two four-year terms voters approved in November 2015. The Texas First […]

Feds officially file appeal in transgender bathroom directive lawsuit

This may be the last stop. With two weeks left, the Obama administration has asked a federal appeals court to throw out a lower court’s decision that suspended policies designed to protect transgender people’s access to restrooms — a sign the current leadership of the Justice Department will close shop mid-fight on one of its […]

Judge rules for Pasadena plaintiffs

Wow. A federal judge in Houston dealt a major blow Friday to the city of Pasadena in a closely watched voting rights case, ruling that officials deliberately diluted the clout of Hispanic voters by revising the system for electing City Council members. Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordered Pasadena to revert to its […]

Effort to expedite redistricting ruling denied

From the Lone Star Project: Earlier today, Federal District Court Judge Xavier Rodriguez denied the motion filed by the Texas congressional and State House redistricting plaintiffs calling on the three-judge federal district court in San Antonio to rule on the pending redistricting case.  Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle released the following statement: “While we […]

Fifth Circuit hears immigrant harboring lawsuit appeal

This time it’s the state that’s appealing a lower court ruling. A federal appeals court in New Orleans heard oral arguments Wednesday about whether a key portion of Texas’ omnibus border security bill is legal. Lawyers for the state of Texas argued that two landlords, and an immigrant services agency, who sued the state over […]

“Fetal remains” rule still on hold

Take all the time you need. As he considers a final ruling on the state’s fetal remains burial rule, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks is delaying the start date of the rule for at least another three weeks. On Wednesday afternoon, after attorneys for the state of Texas and the Center for Reproductive Rights […]

Chris Suprun’s eventful year in voting

How weird is this? The self-described “voting addict” was an apparent casualty of the confusion amid legal wrangling over the state’s 2011 voter ID law. Now, [Texas Republican elector Chris] Suprun is calling for courts to clarify the rules once and for all. “Pick a course and run with it,” he urged U.S. District Court […]

Motion filed to compel redistricting ruling

From the Lone Star Project: The major plaintiffs challenging the Texas congressional and State House boundaries filed a joint motion earlier today to compel the three-judge federal district court in San Antonio to finally issue a decision on their claims that the Texas maps adopted in 2011 are discriminatory in violation of the Voting Rights […]

Transgender health directive halted

One last kick in the rear from the annus horribilis that was 2016. A Texas judge issued an injunction Saturday against a federal mandate aimed to protect transgender people, finding that the federal health rule violates existing law. The preliminary injunction, granted by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, is in response to a lawsuit filed […]

Back to court for Planned Parenthood

Here we go again. Planned Parenthood late Friday asked a federal judge in Austin to block plans by Texas officials to kick the organization out of Medicaid. Calling state plans “nothing more than a politically motivated witch hunt,” Planned Parenthood asked U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks to issue an injunction or temporary restraining order allowing […]

So what happens to all those Texas lawsuits against the feds?

It depends, but basically it’s up to the new Solicitor General, since he is the one defending the federal government’s actions. Since Paxton assumed office as AG in January 2015, Texas has sued the federal government more than a dozen times, raising questions about White House policy on such a wide range of topics as […]

Yet another lawsuit filed against Harris County criminal justice

Lawsuit number three. Harris County has been sued in federal court for the third time in less than a year for yet another issue related to the county’s tough arrest and pretrial detention practices. This time, civil rights advocates allege that county officials routinely charge and jail thousands of people each month without a warrant […]

Lawsuit over secular nativity display will proceed

Merry secular Christmas, y’all. A lawsuit is moving forward against Gov. Greg Abbott over his order to remove a satirical nativity scene from the Texas Capitol last year. A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the Wisconsin-based group behind the exhibit, raised valid questions about free speech rights when it sued […]

Texas Central land survey case will go to trial

This is a little complicated. A major decision standing in the way of a proposed high-speed rail project connecting Houston to Dallas has been scheduled for trial. District Judge Joseph “Tad” Halbach denied Texas Central Railroad summary judgment in a land survey case in Harris County Dec. 16, sending the case to full trial scheduled […]

Motion to dismiss county bail practices lawsuit denied

Onward. In a sweeping 78-page opinion issued late last week, a federal judge has denied Harris County’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit that accuses it of operating an unconstitutional bail system. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal dismissed the sheriff and county judges from the lawsuit in their personal, but not official, capacities; and the five […]

Texas follows through on threat to pull Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood

More than a year after the initial threat was made. Clearly, you can’t rush these things. After more than a year of delays, Texas is officially kicking Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Medicaid program. In a move that could affect thousands of low-income women, state health officials on Tuesday delivered a final legal notice […]

The religious objection to the “fetal remains” rule

It may not be your religion, but who are we to tell people of sincere religious faith what to do? “The Satanic Temple believes burial rites are a well-established component of religious practice. In addition, members of The Satanic Temple believe in the inviolability of the body and, as such, these rules contradict our fundamental […]

“Fetal remains” rule put on hold

Good. A federal judge has delayed Texas’ fetal remains burial rule until Jan. 6. Judge Sam Sparks ruled Thursday afternoon that the Texas Department of State Health Services would have to push back its start date for requiring health providers to bury or cremate aborted fetuses. The agency had originally slated the rule to go […]

Texas AFL-CIO wants to be the defendant in the overtime case

Because they don’t trust the feds post-January 20 to do the job for them. “We’re not saying that the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice haven’t forcefully defended the regulations [so far], but as for whether that will continue in the future, we’re starting to have serious concerns,” Yona Rozen, an assistant general […]

“Fetal remains” lawsuit filed

As expected. Today the Center for Reproductive Rights filed new litigation against the state of Texas over unconstitutional new regulations that mandate the burial or cremation of embryonic and fetal tissue that results from abortions, miscarriages, or ectopic pregnancy surgery – regardless of the woman’s personal wishes or beliefs. The politically-motivated rules are designed to […]

Fifth Circuit agrees to expedited appeal of overtime injunction

Good news and bad news. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted an expedited hearing for the Department of Labor in litigation over new overtime regulations. The Labor Department is seeking a hearing in its effort to overturn a trial court’s ruling halting the Obama administration’s proposed regulatory revisions that would have […]

You can’t stop the faithless electors

So says Carolyn Shapiro, associate professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she is co-director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States. Earlier this week, in a New York Times op-ed, Texas presidential elector Chris Suprun announced that he would not be casting his vote for Donald Trump. Even though […]

“Fetal remains” lawsuit in the works

Get ready. Health providers and abortion clinics have less than two weeks to figure out how to comply with Texas’ new fetal remains rules — that is, if a lawsuit doesn’t halt the process first. Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder of abortion provider Whole Woman’s Health, said she is working with the Center for Reproductive Rights […]

City sued over bail practices

One more lawsuit going after the practice of jailing people who can’t afford to post bonf. Two civil rights groups sued the city of Houston late Monday, alleging the city jail has detained people for days at a time without offering them a hearing to determine if there was probable cause for the initial arrest. […]

Pasadena voting rights case in the judge’s hands now

We await a ruling. Armed officers guarded a closed-door committee meeting. Discriminatory comments surfaced at City Hall. Latino-backed council members were hustled from chambers by police. The accounts of perceived intimidation and back-door dealings were detailed during testimony in a closely watched seven-day trial of a federal voting rights lawsuit that wrapped up Friday in […]

More on the overtime rule ruling

From the NYT: Over the last two years, Federal District Court judges in the state have chipped away at Mr. Obama’s legacy by striking down or suspending no fewer than five regulations, executive orders or actions, and guidelines, including an action that would have allowed illegal immigrants who are parents of United States citizens to […]

Texas v the feds, Endangered Species edition

One more for the road. For perhaps the last time before President Barack Obama leaves office, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed suit against the federal government for what he considers federal overreach, this time in an endangered species matter. […] One rule revises the definition of “destruction or adverse modification” of habitat. Under […]