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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

State settles birth certificate lawsuit

Good. After undergoing mediation, the state of Texas has reached an agreement with undocumented families in a lawsuit over its denial to issue birth certificates to children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants. The state will clarify and expand the types of secondary forms undocumented immigrants can use to prove their identity, according to […]

New affidavit procedure implemented for HD120 special election runoff

Seems likely this is what we’re going to get for November. Now before the Court comes the Consent Motion for Entry of Temporary Remedial Order, filed on July 23, 2016. The Court has considered the motion and determined that it should be GRANTED. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Motion for Entry of Temporary Remedial […]

Voting rights lawsuit filed over Texas statewide judicial elections

This happened on the same day as the Fifth Circuit ruling on voter ID. [Wednesday], the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), Garza Golando Moran, PLLC, and Dechert LLP filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on behalf of individual Latino voters alleging that the […]

What next for voter ID?

Rick Hasen, writing in Slate: The trial court was ready to throw out the entire law, but the 5th Circuit said such a remedy went too far. The court held that when a trial court finds a law has a discriminatory effect under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, it has to keep as […]

Fifth Circuit affirms voter ID ruling

Made it by the deadline. Texas’ voter identification law violates the U.S. law prohibiting racial discrimination in elections, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed previous rulings that the 2011 voter ID law — which stipulates the types of photo identification election officials can and cannot accept at […]

Can we try this again with nine Justices, please?

Can’t hurt to ask. The Obama administration on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the legality of the president’s controversial immigration enforcement plan, which stalled last month when the high court deadlocked on an appeal. The program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, was announced […]

First potty case reaches SCOTUS

Here we go. The legal fight over transgender bathroom rights reached the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time on Wednesday as a Virginia county school board sought to block an order that lets a student who was born a girl but now identifies as male use the boys’ bathroom. Transgender rights have become an […]

The Observer talks to now-retired Judge John Dietz about school finance reform

A brief taste: One really important point, which was certainly not addressed [by the Supreme Court]: With economically disadvantaged students, the undisputed testimony is that if you didn’t grow up economically disadvantaged, when you arrived at school you had roughly a 1,500-word vocabulary and understood probably another 1,000 words. An economically disadvantaged child shows up […]

We should hear something soon on voter ID

So says Rick Hasen: The federal challenge to Texas’s strict voter identification law is pending before the entire Fifth Circuit sitting en banc.  The Supreme Court set a soft July 20 deadline for a decision—after that the Court has invited plaintiffs to seek immediate relief for this election before the Supreme Court. There’s nothing technically […]

More opposition to North Carolina’s HB2

The Justice Department seeks to halt implementation of North Carolina’s viciously anti-LGBT law. The billowing legal fight over North Carolina’s House Bill 2 continued to grow this week with the U.S. Department of Justice asking a federal judge to suspend the law pending the outcome of a trial. The federal agency sued the state over […]

More on Mississippi’s anti-LGBT law and the effect in Texas

Doesn’t look like we’re going to learn anything from the Mississippi experience. Reeves’ ruling isn’t likely to deter Texas Republicans who have stated adamantly that Christians and others with sincerely held religious beliefs need extra protection when following their faith, particularly after the U.S. Supreme Court last year allowed gay marriage and the Obama administration […]

More states file potty lawsuits

Oh, goodie. Ten additional states are suing the Obama administration to stop a directive that requires schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms aligned with their gender identity under the threat of losing federal funding, bringing the total number of states challenging the guidance to 21. Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson announced the lawsuit, […]

Lawsuit filed over campus carry

This ought to be interesting. Three University of Texas at Austin professors sued their university and the state on Wednesday, claiming Texas’ new campus carry law is forcing the school to impose “overly-solicitous, dangerously-experimental gun policies” that violate the First and Second Amendments. The professors — Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter — […]

Paxton petitions for national injunction against transgender bathroom directive

This guy, I swear. Plunging further into the politics of public school bathrooms, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday expanded his federal lawsuit against an Obama Administration directive instructing schools not to discriminate against transgender students, saying he wants a nationwide injunction stopping the policy and wants it quickly. Because a federal judge’s decision […]

Appeals court reverses Ashby damages award

It’s kind of amazing to me that the Ashby Highrise saga is still a newsmaker. In a major ruling that could stymie future legal challenges against developers, a state appellate court has reversed a key portion of the 2014 judgment awarding damages to residents opposed to the controversial Ashby high-rise. Neighbors of the residential tower […]

Mississippi anti-LGBT law struck down

This definitely has consequences for Texas. A federal judge stopped Mississippi’s controversial “religious freedom” law Thursday night, minutes before it was set to take effect. In a opinion that cited scripture and Mississippi’s segregationist past, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves said House Bill 1523, signed by Gov. Phil Bryant in April, was another unfortunate […]

Plastic bag litigation update

This could be a big deal. Is a plastic bag a container? Does the definition of “solid waste management” include litter control? If a state appeals court answers yes to both of those questions, regulations on plastic bags in several Texas cities — including Austin, Fort Stockton, and Port Aransas, which ban the bags, and […]

Texas to get VW settlement money

It’s something. Volkswagen has agreed to pay Texas $50 million in connection with the German automaker’s admitted peddling of diesel vehicles rigged to surpass emissions limits, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Tuesday. The partial settlement is part of a larger, multibillion-dollar agreement unveiled Tuesday that awards hundreds of millions of dollars to dozens of states […]

Wendy Davis takes a victory lap

As well she should. Wendy Davis, the woman whose 11-hour filibuster focused national attention on Texas’ efforts to restrict abortion access in 2013, celebrated Monday when the Supreme Court ruled that the state law was unconstitutional. “I’m overjoyed,” Davis said in an interview with MSNBC. “I have to tell you, I was fighting back tears […]

SCOTUS strikes down HB2

Hallelujah. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed Texas abortion providers a major victory by overturning Texas’ 2013 abortion restrictions. On a 5-3 vote, the high court overturned restrictions passed as part of House Bill 2 in 2013 that required all Texas facilities that perform abortions to meet hospital-like standards — which include minimum sizes […]

AG opposes parents in STAAR lawsuit

Interesting. The Texas attorney general says parents suing to get the state to toss out student test scores lack standing and should have taken their complaints to the Texas Education Agency rather than a court. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office filed the response in Travis County District Court Monday, denying “each and every allegation” from […]

HISD sued over school name changes

Not a surprise. Nine members of the local community on Thursday sued Houston’s public school district, alleging the district violated numerous laws and their own regulations when recently changing the names of eight schools. “We’ve been arguing as parents and taxpayers for months that the vote was illegal, politically driven, and taking these historic buildings […]

Lawsuit filed in Austin over short-term rental ordinance

Geez. The gig economy — specifically, the short-term rental industry that includes HomeAway, Airbnb, and VRBO — is under attack by the city of Austin, Texas, according to a lawsuit filed in state court June 20, which was sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction halting […]

SCOTUS punts on immigration order

Ugh. ealing a major blow to President Obama’s controversial executive immigration order, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Thursday it had failed to produce a majority opinion on the policy — meaning that the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ November 2015 decision rejecting the policy stands. The program had been blocked in February 2015 by […]

Another lawsuit filed over Prop 1 ballot language in Austin

Sure, why not? It’s Uber Zimmerman! Litigious District 6 Councilman Don Zimmerman sued Mayor Steve Adler in his official capacity Thursday, challenging the outcome of the Proposition 1 election on the grounds the ballot language “misled voters and omitted main features” and did not conform to the required format, case caption information shows. A copy […]

Our tax system isn’t quite as stupid as it could be

Good news! A Texas Supreme Court ruling has spared the state from having to issue billions of dollars in tax refunds to oil and gas drillers — a prospect that had had threatened to shake up the next legislative session. The justices on Friday sided with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar in an arcane tax dispute […]

Texas anti-refugee lawsuit dismissed

Good. Texas on Thursday lost its fight against the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state, ending a months-long battle during which refugees from the war-torn country continued to arrive. Dealing the final blow to Gov. Greg Abbott’s effort to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, a federal judge dismissed Texas’ lawsuit against the […]

Former drivers sue Uber and Lyft over leaving Austin

This ought to be interesting. A pair of former drivers for Uber and Lyft filed dual class action lawsuits Thursday against the ride-hailing companies over their abrupt exit last month from the Austin market. The lawsuits, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, claim that Uber and Lyft violated the […]

Just waiting on SCOTUS’ HB2 ruling

We’ll know by the end of the month, one way or the other. In the next few weeks the U.S. Supreme Court, in one of the most significant reproductive rights cases in more than two decades, is expected to determine the future of abortion access in Texas and possibly for other states across the country. […]

Hanen stays his sanctions

Good. The Texas-based judge that last year put a hold on President Obama’s executive order on immigration decided on Tuesday to also suspend a controversial punishment he had recently issued to the administration’s attorneys. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen asserted in May that the federal government’s attorneys intentionally misled his court during last year’s proceedings over the […]

Justice Department appeals Hanen sanctions to Fifth Circuit

Missed this over the weekend. Escalating its constitutional battle with a federal judge over the ethics of government lawyers in the major test case on presidential power over immigration, the Justice Department late Friday night asked a federal appeals court to swiftly nullify the judge’s order of sanctions.  In a massive filing of nearly four […]

Groups ask Fifth Circuit to block Judge Hanen order

Interesting. A coalition of civil and immigrant rights groups on Friday asked an appeals court to stop a federal judge’s order that requires the Obama administration to turn over the confidential information of thousands of undocumented immigrants. The filing in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals by the National Immigration Law Center, the American […]

SCOTUS declines to hear Ted Cruz birther lawsuit

Not that it really matters at this point. The Supreme Court declined Tuesday to hear a lawsuit arguing that Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is ineligible to be president because his Canadian birth means he is not a “natural born citizen.” The justices upheld a lower court ruling from March that found Walter Wagner, a […]

Justice Department asks Judge Hanen to reconsider his last order

Can’t hurt to ask, I guess. The Obama administration has asked a Brownsville-based judge to rethink an order that requires the federal government to turn over the private information of thousands of undocumented immigrants. The May 19 order from U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen asserted that the federal government’s attorneys intentionally misled the court during […]