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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Judge Hanen’s bizarre order

WTF? A federal judge with a history of anti-immigrant sentiment ordered the federal government to turn over the names, addresses and “all available contact information” of over 100,000 immigrants living within the United States. He does so in a strange order that quotes extensively from movie scripts and that alleges a conspiracy of attorneys “somewhere […]

Full DC Circuit Court to review Clean Power Plan

From ThinkProgress, an update on yet another federal lawsuit involving Texas. The Clean Power Plan will get its day in court, but in September, not June — and by the full en banc D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, not the court’s normal three-judge panel that was scheduled to hear it in just over two weeks. […]

Lawsuit filed over Harris County bail practices

This could be a big deal. An advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., challenged Harris County’s bail system on Thursday, arguing in a federal civil rights lawsuit that hundreds of offenders are unlawfully jailed for minor offenses like trespassing and shoplifting simply because they are poor and cannot afford even nominal bail payments. Lawyers for […]

Paxton opines on Syrian refugees

Whatever. Attorney General Ken Paxton sought Tuesday to bolster the state’s thus-far unsuccessful efforts to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in Texas by issuing a legal opinion that stresses the state’s rights in the matter. His opinion, which doesn’t carry the force of law, said any conditions placed on the state’s acceptance of federal refugee […]

Paxton asks the feds if they’re sure about that bathroom thing

Just checking, I’m sure. Will public schools really lose federal education funding if they refuse to comply with a new Obama administration directive regarding transgender students? That’s the basic query posed by top lawyers from Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. Justice and Education departments seeking clarification on […]

SCOTUS punts on birth control lawsuit

Wow. Zubik v. Burwell was supposed to be an epic showdown over the power of religious objectors to limit the rights of others. A sequel to the Court’s 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Zubik involved regulations expanding women’s access to birth control that the conservative justices appeared to endorse in Hobby Lobby — even […]

Lawsuit filed over Uber/Lyft referendum language

Oh, for crying out loud. Attorney Martin Harry filed a lawsuit — a draft of it was obtained by the American-Statesman — in Travis County state district court late Tuesday contesting the election’s outcome, alleging that the city violated election law by combining what should have been two ballot questions into one. “I don’t think […]

Supreme Court upholds school finance system

I’m stunned. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday issued a ruling upholding the state’s public school funding system as constitutional, while asserting it could be better. “Our Byzantine school funding ‘system’ is undeniably imperfect, with immense room for improvement. But it satisfies minimum constitutional requirements,” Justice Don Willett wrote in the court’s 100-page opinion, which […]

Meyers voter ID lawsuit on hold

That’s my interpretation of this. Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Larry Meyers and his co-plaintiff yesterday nonsuited their lawsuit against the state that claimed the voter ID law was unconstitutional. The plantiffs plan to refile their lawsuit after they gather more evidence, said their attorney, Andrew Sommerman. The nonsuit came just one day after […]

Rideshare robocall lawsuit filed

This ought to be interesting. Ride-hailing company Uber was hit with a class-action lawsuit on Wednesday over “robo-text messages” the company has been sending Austin customers seeking their support for a controversial referendum on the ballot Saturday. The suit, filed in federal court, claims Uber violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending “thousands […]

A new way to attack gerrymandering

From Think Progress: America’s anti-gerrymandering law is an incoherent mess. Thirty years ago, in Davis v. Bandemer, the Supreme Court held that a partisan gerrymander may be struck down as unconstitutional upon proof of “both intentional discrimination against an identifiable political group and an actual discriminatory effect on that group.” Yet the Court struggled to […]

Republican attorneys general file briefs in support of Texas’ voter ID law

Birds of a feather. Fifteen Republican-controlled states are wading into the contentious court fight over Texas’ voter ID law, arguing in a legal brief that similar laws around the country have already been upheld by the courts. […] Ahead of oral arguments [this] month, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is leading a coalition of GOP […]

Paxton prosecutor payment lawsuit tossed again

And again I say, good. The Fifth Court of Appeals has dismissed a challenge to the payments being made to three sets of special prosecutors appointed in connection with criminal charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Collin County taxpayer Jeffory Blackard filed a civil suit late last year challenging the $300-per-hour fees charged by […]

Meyers’ voter ID lawsuit gets appellate hearing

I hope he gets to keep it going. [Court of Criminal Appeals Justice Lawrence] Meyers filed his state lawsuit in October 2014, while another legal challenge to the state’s voter ID law was pending in federal court in Corpus Christi. A federal judge overturned the law, but it has remained in effect during the state’s […]

Houston’s anti-pollution ordinance killed by Supreme Court

Alas. In passing two ordinances designed to regulate air pollution, the city of Houston overstepped its authority and illegally subverted state law, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday. The ruling is a victory for a coalition of industrial facilities whose emissions were subject to inspection and possible prosecution by the city. The case pit the […]

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 […]