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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

SCOTUS declines to intervene in voter ID case for now

Not what I would have wanted, but not the end of the line. Even as a federal appeals court prepares to review the constitutionality of Texas’ controversial voter ID law, the law will remain in effect, the U.S. Supreme Court said in an order Friday. However, noting the time-sensitive nature of the case as the […]

“Space City” fight escalates

It’s getting real. The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau is asking a federal judge to stop a rival comic convention from using the phrase “Space City” for its three-day festival scheduled for NRG Center over Memorial Day weekend. The convention bureau filed a request Friday for a temporary restraining order to prevent Space City […]

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, you must acquit

I knew there was a lawsuit going on over the provenance of Stairway to Heaven, but I hadn’t realized there were Texas connections to it. In a few weeks, jurors will decide if Led Zeppelin lifted the guitar intro to “Stairway to Heaven” from an instrumental song “Taurus” by the California psychedelic pop-rock band Spirit. […]

Lawsuits filed over teacher evaluations

This ought to be interesting. A statewide teachers group filed a lawsuit Wednesday in an attempt to block the state from implementing a controversial system that for the first time ties assessments of educators to student performance on standardized tests. In a lawsuit filed against Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath in Travis County District Court, […]

Federal appeals court sides with transgender teen in bathroom case

This could be big. A federal appeals court in Richmond has sided with a transgender high school student, saying that he can proceed with his lawsuit arguing that his school board’s decision to ban him from the boys’ bathroom is discriminatory. In backing high school junior Gavin Grimm, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the […]

The DAPA arguments at SCOTUS

Hard to say how this will go. A shorthanded Supreme Court heard a Texas-led challenge against President Barack Obama’s 2014 immigration plan Monday with sharp questions about whether the state could bring the case to begin with and if the president had overstepped. The eight justices appeared largely divided with the four liberal justices asking […]

DAPA’s day at SCOTUS

Another day, another huge Supreme Court case involving Texas, a big policy item from President Obama at stake, and the fate of millions of people hanging in the balance. The Supreme Court on Monday will hear the matter, one of its most significant this term, and a decision could be the most important related to […]

Supreme Court dismisses effort to dissolve state’s first same-sex marriage

I could be wrong, but I believe this closes the books on all the same-sex marriage litigation from last year. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday tossed out Attorney General Ken Paxton’s effort to undo the union of the first gay couple to legally wed in Texas. The court-ordered same-sex marriage of two Austin women had occurred months before such unions were legalized by […]

I now pronounce you man and machine

Yeah, no. Chris Sevier says he’s being denied his right to marry – his computer. The persistent Tennessee lawyer – who has carried his challenge to same-sex marriage to courthouses across the nation – has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Houston saying he and his 2011 MacBook were rejected for a marriage license […]

Immigrant harboring law blocked

Good. A federal judge has blocked part of the state’s omnibus border security bill that makes harboring undocumented immigrants a state crime. Under a provision of House Bill 11, which went into effect in September, a person commits a crime if they “encourage or induce a person to enter or remain in this country in […]

Texas-filed birther lawsuit against Ted Cruz dismissed

No surprise. A Houston federal judge tossed out a lawsuit Wednesday that challenged Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s eligibility to run for president. U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller dismissed the suit with prejudice, meaning that Houston lawyer Boris Schwartz cannot file the suit again. He found that Schwartz, as a citizen and taxpayer in Texas, […]

SCOTUS asked to rule on Cruz birther lawsuit

What fun. A Utah man became the first to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a “birther” lawsuit against Ted Cruz which challenges the White House hopeful’s eligibility for office. The request by Utah attorney Walter Wagner, who is representing himself in a case thrown out by a trial judge, was placed on […]

Uber settles California fingerprints lawsuit

Noted for the record. Ride-hailing company Uber will pay at least $10 million to settle allegations by California prosecutors that it misled passengers about the quality of its driver background checks. The settlement was signed Thursday in San Francisco, where Uber is based and where the district attorney led a lawsuit that said Uber falsely […]

Is the Evenwel decision the last word on “one person one vote”?

Maybe not. With a long-running legal struggle raging over one of the nation’s strictest voter identification laws, Texas was already a prime battleground in a war between conservatives and liberals over voting rights. And on Monday, experts here and elsewhere say, the Supreme Court may have opened a second front. The court said unanimously that […]

More on the TCRP voter registration lawsuit

Here’s the first news story I’ve seen about that voter registration lawsuit that was filed two weeks ago. The lead plaintiff is Jarrod Stringer of San Antonio, who relocated from Arlington in 2014. When he updated his driver license address online, Stringer believed that his voter registration records would be updated as well, the lawsuit […]

SCOTUS upholds “one person, one vote”

Good news. In a unanimous decision released Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold Texas’ current system for drawing legislative districts so that they are roughly equal in population. The Supreme Court’s ruling is a victory for legislators — mostly Democrats — who represent districts with significant populations of people who are not eligible […]

AG upholds Dallas Zoo ban on guns

For now. The Dallas Zoo can continue to ban guns at its 106-acre campus in Oak Cliff after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton this week rejected a citizen complaint that the zoo’s firearms policy violated state law. Paxton’s office said in a letter dated Wednesday that the zoo qualifies as an amusement park. That’s an […]

City wins first round of term limits ballot language lawsuit

It’s round one, of course, but it’s still a win. The ballot language Houston voters used to change term limits for elected officials was “inartful” but not “invalid,” a state district judge ruled Wednesday, a move that nonetheless left the plaintiffs claiming victory ahead of an expected appellate battle. […] Much of the debate before […]

Texas AG files SCOTUS brief against Obama immigration plan

It’s what he does. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday arguing against President Barack Obama’s plan to shield from deportation nearly 5 million people here illegally and give them temporary work permits. “The Obama Administration has consistently demonstrated disregard for the rule of law in asserting that […]

Lawsuit filed against North Carolina anti-equality law

That was fast. It took only one day for North Carolina’s legislature to pass the country’s most sweeping anti-LGBT bill (HB2), and only four days after that for Lambda Legal and the ACLU of North Carolina to file a lawsuit challenging it. The suit takes direct aim at the law’s ban on transgender people using […]

“Prison gerrymandering” tossed by federal court

Noted for the record. The Federal District Court for Florida’s Northern District ruled Monday that the prison gerrymandering in Florida’s Jefferson County unconstitutionally dilutes the voting power of its residents. By packing inmates who can’t vote into a district, but counting them when drawing electoral maps, District Judge Mark Walker said the county had violated […]

Can SCOTUS please intervene in the voter ID case?

The plaintiffs would like to know. Civil rights groups challenging Texas’ voter identification law are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block the measure from being used during the 2016 general election. […] The civil rights groups filed a motion Friday with the Supreme Court asking it to vacate a Fifth Circuit ruling that has […]

Local Planned Parenthood joins lawsuit against the video fraudsters

Good. A Texas-based Planned Parenthood affiliate on Thursday moved to join a federal lawsuit filed in California against the anti-abortion group behind undercover videos of the organization’s clinics. The lawsuit, filed in a San Francisco-based federal court in January, alleges the Center for Medical Progress engaged in conspiracy, fraud and other activities that violate organized […]

Once more with SCOTUS and birth control

Here we go. In another major case concerning Texas women’s reproductive care, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider if the right to religious freedom is broad enough to completely exempt nonprofits with religious objections to birth control from providing women access to it through their insurance plans. The case, formally known as Zubik […]

The New Mexico abortion option

This should come as a surprise to no one. Though abortions among residents are down the number of out-of-state women traveling to New Mexico for abortions has grown significantly over the past three years. According to state Department of Health data, about 20 percent of the roughly 4,500 abortions performed in New Mexico in 2014 […]

What kind of ruling might we expect in the school finance case?

KUHF explores the possibilities. Four major scenarios to watch for: The Texas Supreme Court could not rule at all. Instead, it could send the case back to the lower court to see if the latest $2.5 billion dollars to the education budget solves the problem. “And the court could say, you know, we need more […]

How much more “undue” does it need to be?

HB2 is doing exactly what it was intended to do. A new report released Thursday shows Texas abortion patients traveled farther for services and experienced higher out-of-pocket costs following the closure of more than half of the state’s legal abortion providers in 2014. The closures came after the implementation of parts of Texas’ omnibus anti-abortion […]

Paxton prosecutor payment lawsuit tossed

Good. A Collin County court Thursday tossed out an attempt to stop payments to the special prosecutors appointed to pursue the financial fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Filed by prominent real estate developer and Paxton donor Jeff Blackard, the lawsuit argued that Collin County was paying too much to the attorneys prosecuting […]

Lawsuit filed over voter registration problems

From the Texas Civil Rights Project: In a lawsuit filed this morning in a San Antonio federal court, the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) challenged voter registration procedures at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). As the Complaint explains, Texas is violating the U.S. Constitution and federal law by refusing to register eligible voters […]

Supreme Court declines to intervene in Austin Uber referendum

Who knew they could do that? The Texas Supreme Court on Monday declined to order the Austin City Council to rewrite the ballot language on the proposed ride-hailing ordinance that will go before voters May 7. Austin music manager Samantha Phelps, working in conjunction with Uber, last week filed a petition for a writ of […]

Court hears arguments over paying Paxton’s prosecutors

I am rooting for this to be thrown out of court. Dallas County Court at Law Judge Mark Greenberg heard arguments Friday over jurisdictional issues in the civil case brought by taxpayer Jeffory Blackard. Blackard is challenging the $300 per hour fees being paid to the three Houston attorneys handling the criminal prosecution in the […]

SCOTUS upholds same-sex adoption rights

Awesome. The U.S. Supreme Court in a victory for gay rights ruled Monday that states must honor adoptions by same-sex parents who move across state lines. Citing the Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause, the justices in a unanimous opinion rebuked the Alabama Supreme Court for denying a lesbian’s right to visit the three children […]

Supreme Court asked to weigh in on Austin rideshare referendum

Of course it is. The Texas Supreme Court has been pulled into the ongoing battle between Uber and the City of Austin. An Austin resident, supported by Uber, has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the ballot language for a new measure regulating vehicle-for-hire companies within the city, scheduled to come before voters […]

“Space City” trademark lawsuit

Fascinating. Houston’s convention bureau is suing the operators of a popular local convention over the use of “Space City” in its name, claiming it infringes on a 12-year-old trademark. The convention in question, Space City Comic Con, also happens to compete with a similar event that is half-owned by the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors […]