Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Fifth Circuit hears request to lift immigration injunction order

Always best to temper one’s expectations with these guys. An argument from U. S. Department of Justice lawyers that the state of Texas doesn’t have standing to challenge the Obama administration’s controversial immigration policy met with resistance from a pair of federal appellate judges Friday. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals […]

City prevails in HERO repeal petition lawsuit

Hallelujah! Opponents of Houston’s non-discrimination ordinance failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a repeal referendum, a state district judge ruled Friday, validating city officials’ decision to toss out the petition foes submitted last summer. After separate rulings from both a jury and state District Judge Robert Schaffer, attorneys for both sides entered dueling […]

As usual, the Fifth Circuit is where hope goes to be strangled

Ugh. Judge Jerry E. Smith’s presence on the panel that will hear oral arguments in Texas v. United States on Friday is simply a disaster for the DAPA and expanded DACA programs. Smith, the self-described former right-wing activist, once described feminists as a “gaggle of outcasts, misfits and rejects.” He is one of five judges […]

Al Bennett confirmed to federal district court

Great news. After months of delay, a unanimous U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Alfred Bennett to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, cracking open slightly a national logjam of judicial nominations and a backlog of cases. Bennett’s 95-0 vote, though welcomed by legal reformers, still leaves in limbo at least […]

No HERO ruling quite yet

There was a hearing, but still no ruling quite yet. Opponents of the city’s legally embattled equal rights ordinance say they collected about 200 more valid petition signatures than they need to trigger a repeal referendum, a figure a district court judge will consider this week as he issues the final ruling in what has […]

Injunction against immigration executive order stays in place

Not a surprise, I guess. A Brownsville-based federal judge on Tuesday denied the Obama administration’s request to let a controversial immigration program proceed while the issue plays out in the courts. United States District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that his initial decision to halt the president’s November executive action — which seeks to grant deportation […]

Get ready for the HERO ruling

Should happen on Monday. With a ruling expected next week in the protracted legal battle surrounding Houston’s equal rights ordinance, city attorneys entered a motion for judgment late Friday afternoon that says opponents of the law are 650 signatures shy of triggering a repeal referendum. District Judge Robert Schaffer will hold a formal hearing Monday […]

“Kicking and screaming”

Looks like we’re going to have to wait for SCOTUS to finally bring same sex marriage to Texas. Daniel McNeel Lane Jr., who represents two same-sex couples challenging Texas’ marriage ban, previously predicted the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would bring marriage equality to the state before Easter. But Lane said this week he […]

Remember the Alamo lawsuit

Release the lawyers! Earlier this month, Texas General Land Commissioner George P. Bush fired The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, longtime managers of the Alamo, effective July 10. In a letter to the group, Bush cited 10 contract violations and said the state would be moving in a new direction. Now, the group is […]

Once again to SCOTUS for Texas and the EPA

Plus ca change, and all that. Texas again went head-to-head with the Environmental Protection Agency before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, this time challenging federal limits on the emission of pollutants like mercury, acid gases and other toxic metals from power plants. Joined by 20 other states, Texas is arguing that the EPA didn’t […]

Injunction granted against FMLA benefits for same sex couples

What a load of crap. A Wichita Falls federal district judge on Thursday granted Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to temporarily stop the federal government from revising the Family and Medical Leave Act to include federal employees in same-sex unions. Paxton and attorneys general from Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska who sued the federal government “have […]

Hearing set for appeal of immigration order ruling

Coming soon. A court hearing has been set for April 17 on whether a temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action should be lifted, a federal appeals court announced Tuesday. […] The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said each side will have an hour to make their arguments about […]

Still counting HERO repeal petition signatures

After more than a month, we finally have an update on the signature counting from the HERO repeal petition trial. The first publicly disclosed tally since the heated trial surrounding the city’s equal rights ordinance wrapped up last month leaves opponents of the law about 3,000 valid petition signatures shy of triggering a repeal referendum, […]

Paxton files his first lawsuit against the feds

Won’t be his last, I’m sure, but as the first it sure seems like a rearguard action. The state of Texas is suing the Obama administration for giving medical leave benefits to certain same-sex couples, according to an announcement Wednesday from Attorney General Ken Paxton. The lawsuit comes in response to a rule change announced […]

Feds file appeal of immigration injunction to Fifth Circuit

Time to force the issue. The Obama administration Thursday asked a federal appeals court to do what a Texas-based judge didn’t: allow a controversial immigration program to move forward while the issue plays out in the courts. Attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice filed an emergency motion asking the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of […]

Immigration lawsuit update

Another hearing is scheduled. The judge who blocked President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration has ordered the Justice Department to answer allegations that the government misled him about part of the plan. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ordered Monday that the lawyers for the federal government appear in his court March 19 in Brownsville. […]

SCOTUS to hear same sex marriage appeal in April

Get ready. The Supreme Court will hear arguments over same-sex marriage on April 28 and make audio of the proceedings available later that day. The gay marriage cases mark the only time this term that the court has agreed to the quick release of audio recordings. But the court is continuing its ban on providing […]

Wilson’s legal fees

Oh, come on. The ongoing legal battle over Houston Community College Trustee Dave Wilson’s residency is poised to pit one source of taxpayer dollars against another, as the college may be on the hook for his legal fees and the county continues to pay to pursue a case it has lost twice. HCC has an […]

Cleo and Nicole

You should read this Texas Monthly feature story on Cleopatra de Leon and Nicole Dimetman, two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit to overturn Texas’ ban on same sex marriage. But it is children— their children—that prompted Cleo and Nicole to file a lawsuit in the first place. Their suit argues that “responsible procreation” ignores […]

From the “Be careful who you vote for” department

Because you never know when the consequences of your voting actions will directly affect you. Erin Meredith, a fifth-generation Republican who lives in Austin, was no fan of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which she considered just another wasteful government handout. She didn’t sign up for a health plan until late last year, when she […]

Supreme Court hears Renew Houston appeal

Last stop of the litigation train for the plaintiffs that have sued to overturn the Renew Houston referendum, on the grounds that the voters were misinformed about what they were voting for. Two lower courts have sided with the city, and the case has now landed in the state’s highest court, where attorneys for both […]

Complaint filed against judge who allowed same sex marriage

Whatever. The judge that allowed Texas’ first gay marriage to go forward is the target of a judicial conduct complaint, the latest volley in the state’s attempts to call the historic union into question. “This judge deliberately violated statutory law and this is unacceptable,” Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arglington, said after confirming he had filed a […]

Judge Schaffer makes his ruling on the HERO repeal petitions

I was expecting this to happen Monday, but apparently Judge Robert Schaffer handed down his ruling about which HERO repeal petition signatures were valid and should be counted on Monday. Judge Robert Schaffer ruled on which types of signatures can be counted on the petition seeking to overturn the controversial ordinance. According to the city […]

Justice Department files request for stay on immigration ruling

As expected. The U.S. government asked a federal judge Monday to lift his temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s action to shield millions of immigrants in the country illegally from deportation. The Justice Department’s motion for a stay was filed with the court of U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas. The federal government […]

The backlash has begun

Item one. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to void a marriage license issued to two Austin women who became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in the state. Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who have been together for 30 years, said their vows on Thursday after state […]

Stay sought on immigration lawsuit decision

As expected. The Obama administration will ask a court on Monday to allow the president’s controversial immigration order to move forward after a Texas judge halted the program this week. “The Department of Justice has made a decision to file a stay in this case,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday, according […]

More on the HERO repeal petition jury verdict

KUHF has a good look at What It All Means. “It’s tough to predict,” said Teddy Rave, an assistant professor at the University of Houston Law Center. “It looks like the jury pretty much split the baby. They answered some questions in favor of the plaintiffs and some in favor of the city. And now […]

First same-sex marriage in Texas happens

It may be the only one for awhile, but it will definitely not be the only one. Despite Texas’ longstanding ban on same-sex marriages, two Austin women made history on Thursday when they became the first gay couple to legally wed in the state. A judge directed the Travis County clerk to issue a marriage […]

Another judge finds Texas’ ban on same sex marriage to be unconstitutional

This ruling is a bit more narrow, however. A Travis County judge ruled Tuesday that the Texas ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, but there was no rush to the altar after county officials — scrambling to assess the impact of the judge’s 3 p.m. order — declined to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex […]

Obama immigration executive order halted

For now. A federal judge late Monday halted President Barack Obama’s landmark immigration order on the eve of its implementation, denying millions of people illegally in America access to work permits and dealing a victory to Gov. Greg Abbott in his lawsuit against the program. The decision from Judge Andrew Hanen, based in Brownsville, did […]

Wal-Mart sues Texas

It’s about booze. Wal-Mart filed a lawsuit in an Austin federal court on Thursday challenging a Texas law that forbids the company from owning and operating liquor stores in the state. The lawsuit says the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission code prevents Wal-Mart from obtaining a permit to sell hard alcohol because it is a publicly […]

Mixed jury verdict in HERO repeal petitions trial

Some Friday afternoon big news. A jury in the trial surrounding Houston’s embattled equal rights ordinance issued a mixed slate of decisions Friday, giving neither side the obvious upper hand as a district judge now uses those findings to decide whether opponents submitted enough valid signatures to trigger a repeal referendum. The jury decided whether […]

Same sex marriage plaintiffs ask Fifth Circuit to lift the stay

They’ve got a strong case, based on recent SCOTUS action. Attorneys for two gay couples are asking a federal appeals court to allow same-sex marriages to begin in Texas immediately. In a motion filed Thursday, attorneys for the couples asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift a district judge’s stay of his […]

SCOTUS could really screw Texas on Obamacare

You know how all those Texans have been signing up for health insurance via the Healthcare.gov exchange? Every single one of them stands to lose if the Supreme Court decides to play politics. Nearly 1 million Texans have now signed up for health insurance on the federal marketplace, known as healthcare.gov. But Texas, and 33 […]