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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Term limits lawsuit against city could be dismissed

This was unexpected. Last November, Houston voters approved an amendment to the City Charter that changed the length and maximum number of terms elected officials can serve. The lawsuit by Phillip Paul Bryant alleges the language on the ballot tricked voters into thinking they were voting for limiting terms, when they actually extended them. But […]

Paxton finds another way to be in trouble

Like fleas to a dog, trouble just follows this guy around. Remember that historic Supreme Court ruling last year? The one that ended decades of discrimination against same-sex couples who wanted to get married? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton surely does because it’s probably still causing him headaches, in addition to his legal woes. The […]

SCOTUS puts Clean Power Plan on hold

And in doubt. In a major setback for President Obama’s climate change agenda, the Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the administration’s effort to combat global warming by regulating emissions from coal-fired power plants. The brief order was not the last word on the case, which is most likely to return to the Supreme Court […]

State strikes out on Syrian refugees again

Too bad. Now give up already. A federal judge has again denied a bid by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to block the federal government from resettling Syrian refugees in the state. Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey on Monday rejected Paxton’s request for a preliminary injunction to bar the Syrian refugees, dealing another […]

Federal judge smacks video fraudsters

That’s gonna leave a mark. In a sharp rebuke, a federal judge on Friday issued a preliminary injunction ordering abortion opponents not to release videos they had secretly made at meetings of abortion providers, and he added that the opponents’ claims that such organizations were illegally selling fetal tissue were baseless. In the ruling, Judge […]

We have a messed up tax system in this state, part deux

Sooner or later, it’s going to collapse under its own weight. The state’s highest civil court last week agreed to hear a case hinging on whether metal pipes, tubing and other equipment used in oil and gas production should be exempt from sales taxes. While the issue is arcane, the impact to the state could […]

Another legal bill for Texas

That’s what happens when you lose. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let stand a ruling that awarded more than $1.1 million to lawyers who represented former Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis and several minority-rights groups in a case challenging Texas’ redistricting plans. The justices this week refused to review the state’s appeal of […]

Paxton takes another shot at Syrian refugees

Whatever. In the latest controversy over Syrians seeking refuge in Texas, the state’s top lawyer on Tuesday again asked a federal judge to halt the resettlement of people fleeing the war-torn country. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told a U.S. district judge that the federal government should be temporarily barred from placing Syrian refugees in […]

MALDEF sues over provision of border bill

Worth watching. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, filed suit Sunday against Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw and the Texas Public Safety Commission, which oversees the DPS. The group alleges that the state has violated the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause because immigration enforcement is only […]

Grand jury indicts Planned Parenthood video fraudsters

Sweet. A Harris County grand jury investigating allegations that a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston illegally sold the tissue of aborted fetuses has cleared the organization of wrongdoing and instead indicted two anti-abortion activists behind the undercover videos that sparked the probe. Secret videographers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were both indicted on charges of […]

Clean Power Plan can proceed for now

Good. A federal appeals court has denied a request from Texas and other states to block President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, leaving the controversial climate change rules in place as a legal challenge winds through the courts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia wrote Thursday that the states — joined by […]

Paxton opines against daily fantasy sports sites

I feel confident saying this will be tested in court. While placing bets on fantasy sports sites might involve skill, there is still an element of chance that equates such leagues with illegal gambling in Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a nonbinding opinion released Tuesday. The “odds are favorable that a court would […]

SCOTUS to hear immigration executive order case

It’s on. The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will decide whether President Obama has the authority to declare that millions of illegal immigrants be allowed to remain and work in the United States without fear of deportation. The court will probably hear the case in April, with a ruling before it adjourns in June. […]

Paxton’s latest Syrian refugee brief

A bit of a reach, if you ask me. In response to the recent arrest of an Iraqi refugee who is facing charges of attempting to help the Islamic State, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a new court document Friday in a renewed effort to keep some refugees from being resettled in Texas. Paxton’s […]

Paxton prosecutors sue AG office to block records

Hold on to your hats. In an unusual and head-spinning twist, prosecutors in the criminal case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the attorney general’s office Thursday to block the release of sensitive case information that could hinder Paxton’s defense but that his own agency ordered to be turned over to a Texas newspaper. […]

Inevitable “birther” lawsuit filed against Ted Cruz

Houston, represent! Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz should be disqualified from the race because he isn’t a “natural-born citizen,” a fellow Texan claims in a “birther” challenge filed against the senator in a U.S. court. The suit seeks a court definition of the term to clarify whether Cruz — who was born in Canada to […]

Transgender people can now get correct birth certificates

Excellent news. Last week, Texas began giving trans people the option of sealing their old birth certificates and issuing new ones, according to Dallas attorney Katie Sprinkle. Previously, Texas issued amended certificates and those were only issued with a surgeon’s letter. Now, Texas is sealing old records and issuing new birth certificates with a court […]

Planned Parenthood sues over those anti-abortion sting videos

Game on, indeed. Planned Parenthood is suing the people behind the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the anti-abortion group that released a series of misleading videos this summer claiming that the women’s health organization sells fetal tissue for profit. “The people behind this fraud lied and broke the law in order to spread malicious lies […]

Syrian refugee litigation update

From Trail Blazers: The legal jousting continues over Texas’ effort to bar the settlement of Syrian refugees in the state. Attorneys for the federal government and an aid agency this week filed briefs reiterating their opposition to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit over the matter. The aid group, the International Rescue Committee, asked that the […]

Republicans sure are hoping to get a bailout on school finance

Am I the only one who thinks that a lot of this sounds like wishful thinking? The Texas Supreme Court may punt in a far-reaching school finance case, asking a lower court to assess the Legislature’s latest efforts on public schools. If it does, a new law may reduce the influence of trial judges elected […]

Yet another lawsuit by Texas against the EPA

So what else is new? In another lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the state of Texas is taking aim at tightened standards on ground-level ozone — President Obama’s effort to cut down on smog that chokes the nation’s skies. An ozone standard finalized in October shrank the previous 75 parts per billion limits […]

Pasadena activists want details on their Mayor’s campaign spending

Good. A group of Hispanic voters that accuses the city of Pasadena of diluting its voting rights is asking that a political action committee with ties to the mayor turn over records of communications with voters. The PAC — Committee to Keep Pasadena Strong — has received funding from Mayor Johnny Isbell’s campaign coffers. It […]

Two abortion stories

The amicus briefs are being filed in the HB2 case. The Obama administration on Monday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Texas abortion law that has shuttered nearly half the clinics in the state, saying the Republican-backed regulations would harm rather than protect women’s health. […] If allowed to take full effect, […]

Another attack on the Paxton prosecution

If at first you don’t succeed… A prominent real estate developer has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop payments to the private attorneys appointed to prosecute Attorney General Ken Paxton — the latest twist in the Republican’s securities fraud case. Jeff Blackard, a Paxton donor, filed the lawsuit in Collin County District Court, arguing that […]

Date set for SCOTUS HB2 arguments

Mark your calendars. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about the constitutionality of Texas’ strict anti-abortion law on March 2, the justices announced Thursday, setting a date for a hotly anticipated fight that could affect women’s health policy across the country. The scheduling puts the case on track for a ruling by the end […]

RIP, Joe Jamail

A legal legend. Legendary Texas lawyer Joe Jamail, known as the “King of Torts,” passed away today from complications from pneumonia. Texas Lawyer in 2014 asked Jamail whether he ever planned to retire. “You’ll read about it in the obituary,” Jamail replied. He tried a lawsuit this year shortly after he turned 90. “He was […]

The arguments in the “one person, one vote” case

Here’s the Chron story: “We start with the proposition that one person can’t be given two votes, while their neighbor be given one vote,” said Arlington, Va., attorney William Consovoy, arguing Evenwel’s case before the high court. Texas officials argued that the state – like every other state and the U.S. House of Representatives – […]

State strikes out again on Syrian refugees

0 for 2 and counting. A judge on Wednesday denied a renewed attempt by Texas officials to block nine Syrian refugees from entering the state, describing the state’s safety concerns as “largely speculative hearsay.” “The (state) has failed to show by competent evidence that any terrorists actually have infiltrated the refugee program, much less that […]

Oral arguments in “one man, one vote” case today

High stakes, indeed. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could have far-reaching implications for the way legislative districts in Texas — and across the country — are drawn. A coalition of Texas legislators, mostly Democrats, fears that if voters suing the state succeed, minority communities will have significantly […]

No hearing on request to bar refugees till January

So much for that. A Dallas-based federal judge has denied a request by Texas state officials for an expedited hearing regarding Syrian refugees and will not rule on the case until mid-January at the earliest. Judge David Godbey informed lawyers involved in the case of his decision in a closed-door conference Monday morning, according to […]

We have a messed up tax system in this state

The latest exhibit: The volatile oil and gas industry already has prompted Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar to reduce his state revenue estimate, but that may not be the last of the bad budget news. A court decision potentially could cost Texas around $1.1 billion a year in franchise tax revenue, plus require four years’ worth […]

Texas drops request for emergency order on Syrian refugees

It’s something. Texas officials have withdrawn their request for an emergency order blocking a group of Syrian refugees from entering the state and instead are seeking a broader hearing next week on how closely the federal government coordinates with the state on refugee resettlement. The move almost certainly will allow two Syrian refugees families scheduled […]

Texas files its lawsuit against International Rescue Committee

I am at a loss for words. Texas has gone to federal court in its efforts to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, filing suit against the federal government and a refugee resettlement nonprofit. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton […]

SCOTUS denies 30-Day Extension in Immigration Case

Good. The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted twenty-six states an extra eight days to file their response to the Obama administration’s appeal in defense of its broad new immigration policy. That extension — considerably less than the added thirty days the states had sought — makes it more likely that the case, United States v. […]