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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

An ironic might-have-been on redistricting

From Rick Casey. The three judges who decided the case include one Democrat and two Republicans. Ironically, the decision may have gone the other way if one of the judges hadn’t been punished for joining in an earlier ruling in the case. Here’s the backstory. Judge Rodriguez, a graduate of Harvard University and the University […]

Motion filed to block current Congressional map

From the Lone Star Project. Moments ago the Plaintiffs in the ongoing Texas congressional redistricting case filed a joint motion asking the San Antonio Federal District Court for an injunction to block the use of the current congressional map during the 2018 mid-term elections.  The motion also suggests a schedule to adopt a new map […]

Back to court for Buc-ee’s

They seem to do this a lot. Buc-ee’s, the local convenience store chain known for clean restrooms, cheap gasoline and its cartoon beaver mascot, is trying to stop a Nebraska company from muscling in on the Texas market with plans to build stores called “Bucky’s,” the latest development in a decade-long dispute between the dueling […]

So what does that redistricting ruling really mean?

The Trib has a good explainer. So will the Legislature redraw the congressional map? And if so, when? Here’s where it gets tricky. Friday’s order made it clear that the 2011 map cannot stand, but it did not order anyone to immediately redraw it. That might be because that map wasn’t actually in effect. Amid […]

Another voter ID update

From the Lone Star Project: Last week, the Trump Department of Justice brought press attention to the ongoing Texas voter ID lawsuit that remains pending before Federal District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi. The Trump DOJ withdrew long-standing federal government claims that the Texas law was adopted with the intent to discriminate against Hispanic […]

Court rules several Congressional districts were illegally drawn

Bam! Some of Texas’ 36 congressional districts violate either the U.S. Constitution or the federal Voting Rights Act, a panel of federal judges ruled Friday. In a long-delayed ruling, the judges ruled 2-1 that the Texas Legislature must redraw the political maps it most recently used for the 2016 elections. Specifically, they pointed to Congressional […]

Sheriff Gonzalez testifies in bail practices trial

He says on the stand what he has been saying elsewhere. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez took the witness stand for an hour Wednesday afternoon in a closely watched federal civil rights case that is challenging whether it is constitutional to impose monetary bail on people arrested for minor offenses if they cannot afford to […]

Bail practices lawsuit gets going

The first day in court for this lawsuit was Monday. Neal S. Manne, a managing partner at Susman Godfrey, told Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal in his opening statement Monday that ODonnell and hundreds of other poor people charged with minor crimes do not get a fair chance to win pretrial release here […]

Ogg sides with bail reformers

As well she should. District Attorney Kim Ogg on Friday filed a brief supporting bail reform in the lawsuit brought against Harris County’s misdemeanor judges to change the bail system. The civil rights lawsuit, filed in federal court, is expected to begin a three-day hearing on Monday about whether the judge should issue an injunction. […]

Once more with feeling on voter ID

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern says that Tuesday’s arguments about whether Texas’ voter ID law was enacted with discriminatory intent or not went well for the plaintiffs, and not for the state or its new buddies in the Justice Department. Tuesday’s hearing was supposed to be all about the question of intent. But the DOJ’s last-minute […]

Supreme Court hears ridiculous same-sex marriage appeal

Was this trip really necessary? Same-sex couples are entitled to the same treatment as opposite-sex couples, a lawyer for the city of Houston argued before the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday in a case challenging the city’s benefits policy for married same-sex couples. As part of Texas Republicans’ ongoing fight against same-sex marriage, justices of the […]

State Supreme Court hears same sex marriage appeal today

Gird your loins. Almost two years after same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, Texas Republicans are still fighting the ruling — and they’re getting another day in court. The Texas Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Wednesday in a Houston case challenging the city’s benefits policy for married same-sex couples. Though such policies […]

Justice Department wants out of voter ID case

As expected. The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Monday it plans to ditch its longstanding position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter identification law in 2011. The move comes one day before a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments on that high-stakes voting rights question, and […]

Texas cannot bar Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

Good. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled Tuesday afternoon that Texas clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood can continue to care for patients under the state’s Medicaid program, a phew-worthy victory for reproductive rights advocates and a loss for the state’s GOP leaders. In a 42-page ruling, Sparks wrote that the state’s arguments in the case […]

Uptown lawsuit filed

I suppose we should have expected something like this. The city’s Uptown Development Authority and the economic development zone that feeds it were created in violation of the Texas Constitution, two critics allege in a lawsuit that seeks to void all resulting actions and block Uptown from collecting or spending another dime. The Galleria-area agency’s […]

The legal case against the “sanctuary cities” bill

Ken Paxton says that the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill meets legal muster, and the state won’t get sued to smithereens if it passes. Not all lawyers agree with that. The office of the Texas Attorney General can no better predict when the Dallas Cowboys will win the Super Bowl than it can how an appeals […]

AG’s office sanctioned in voter registration lawsuit

They were warned. A federal judge has ordered sanctions against the state of Texas for blowing past deadlines and ignoring a court order to hand over thousands of pages of documents in a lawsuit challenging its voter registration practices. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office’s “months-long delay” in producing the documents “has been disruptive, time […]

Paxton files brief in favor of Muslim ban

Because of course he does. Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an amicus brief Wednesday expressing his support of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, effectively becoming the first state attorney general to back the controversial executive order. Under the executive order, travelers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya are barred from entering the […]

Pasadena won’t fight election order

The May election in Pasadena will proceed under the pre-redistricting eight-district Council map. The city of Pasadena will not fight an appellate court ruling over its election system, a decision that will allow the upcoming May council elections to proceed with eight-single member district seats, according to the lead attorney for the city in the […]

Harris County really needs to settle that bail practices lawsuit

Enough already. Two Houston-based lawmakers called on Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan Friday to dismiss an attorney hired to represent county judges in a federal civil rights lawsuit, after that attorney claimed in a hearing that many people jailed in Harris County were there by choice – not because they could not afford to post […]

Trump Justice Department to drop appeals in transgender bathroom directive case

From ThinkProgress: The Trump administration has elected not to contest a Texas federal judge’s injunction barring the federal government from implementing Obama administration guidelines that protect transgender kids in schools. Oral arguments for the Obama Justice Department’s appeal of the judge’s decision were scheduled for Tuesday. The DOJ cancelled them in a legal brief submitted […]

ReBuild re-vote?

It could come to that, but it’s not clear to me that it has to. The funding scheme for ReBuild Houston, the city’s street and drainage repair initiative, remains in limbo after a state appeals court agreed Thursday that the 2010 charter referendum creating the program is void. The Texas 14th Court of Appeals ruling […]

Supreme Court hears TDP-KSP appeal

Here‘s a little blast from the past. A meandering legal dispute between Texas Democrats and a Houston tea party group has landed before the Texas Supreme Court in a case that could overturn longtime election laws that require certain political committees to disclose donors and ban direct political contributions from corporations. Arguing before the court […]

Fifth Circuit upholds Pasadena election order

Good. The Pasadena election system that a judge ruled violated the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against Hispanics cannot be used in the upcoming May council elections, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by a lower court judge ordering the city to revert to a […]

Fifth Circuit hears Pasadena redistricting appeal

This is to decide whether to lift or leave in place Judge Lee Rosenthal’s ruling that the pre-2013 all-single-member-district Council map will be in place for the May elections in Pasadena. The City of Pasadena asked for the expedited hearing before the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a narrow issue – the structure […]

Paxton prosecutor pay suspended

Whiplash! Collin County must immediately stop paying the three lawyers prosecuting Ken Paxton’s criminal fraud case, a Dallas court has said. The 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas on Monday temporarily halted the payments — the result of a lawsuit filed against the county and prosecutors by a local taxpayer — and will consider a […]

Look for the helpers

They’re at the airports now. Luis Ruiz, an immigration attorney with his own practice, set up shop early Sunday at Bush Intercontinental Airport. He’d seen news of attorneys around the country flocking to airports to help people detained under the terms of the executive order President Donald Trump issued Friday, and he figured duty called. […]

State fails to respond to voter registration lawsuit

Here’s an update on a different voting rights lawsuit from last year. Civil rights lawyers suing Texas over its voter registration practices are asking a federal judge to sanction the state for allegedly blowing past deadlines and ignoring a court order to hand over thousands of pages of documents related to the case. The Texas […]

Interview with Jose Garza

So it’s been a busy couple of weeks for the voter ID litigation. There was the motion by the Justice Department to delay the hearing on whether the law was passed with discriminatory intent, which everyone expects is a prelude to them switching sides in the case. Then there was the decision by the Supreme […]

Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi

This is who the now-injuncted executive order suspending refugee resettlement and immigration visas from certain countries was supposed to “protect” us from. The lawyers said that one of the Iraqis detained at Kennedy Airport, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years. The other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq […]

“Fetal remains” rule blocked

Good. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks ruled Texas cannot require health providers to bury or cremate fetuses, delivering another blow to state leaders in the reproductive rights debate. On Friday afternoon, Sparks wrote in his ruling that Texas Department of State Health Services’ fetal remains burial rule’s vagueness, undue burden and potential for irreparable […]

So what will the Justice Department do with voter ID now?

We don’t know yet. Hours after President Donald Trump was inaugurated, the Department of Justice filed to postpone a hearing on the Texas Voter ID law. The request was granted. The DOJ had previously argued that the law intentionally discriminated against minority voters, but told the court it needed additional time for the new administration […]

Pasadena appellate hearing set

Mark your calendars. With deadlines looming for the upcoming May elections, a federal appeals court has agreed to hear arguments Feb. 1 in a voting rights lawsuit that overturned the Pasadena election system. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider whether to temporarily halt the order from the Houston judge until after the […]

SCOTUS will not review voter ID ruling

For now. The Supreme Court issued orders from its January 19 conference this morning. After granting review in two cases from that conference last week, the justices did not add any new cases to their merits docket today. But there was one notable denial on today’s order list: Abbott v. Veasey, the challenge to a […]