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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

City sued over bail practices

One more lawsuit going after the practice of jailing people who can’t afford to post bonf. Two civil rights groups sued the city of Houston late Monday, alleging the city jail has detained people for days at a time without offering them a hearing to determine if there was probable cause for the initial arrest. […]

Pasadena voting rights case in the judge’s hands now

We await a ruling. Armed officers guarded a closed-door committee meeting. Discriminatory comments surfaced at City Hall. Latino-backed council members were hustled from chambers by police. The accounts of perceived intimidation and back-door dealings were detailed during testimony in a closely watched seven-day trial of a federal voting rights lawsuit that wrapped up Friday in […]

More on the overtime rule ruling

From the NYT: Over the last two years, Federal District Court judges in the state have chipped away at Mr. Obama’s legacy by striking down or suspending no fewer than five regulations, executive orders or actions, and guidelines, including an action that would have allowed illegal immigrants who are parents of United States citizens to […]

Texas v the feds, Endangered Species edition

One more for the road. For perhaps the last time before President Barack Obama leaves office, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed suit against the federal government for what he considers federal overreach, this time in an endangered species matter. […] One rule revises the definition of “destruction or adverse modification” of habitat. Under […]

New Sheriff not interested in defending current bail policies

Good. After defeating Sheriff Ron Hickman in the election this month, Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez is already sticking his nose in Hickman’s official business — mainly, the lawsuit filed against him. Hickman, along with the county, all the county judges and five bail hearing officers, has been sued for participating in what a national civil rights […]

Two more lawsuit updates

The ban on the transgender bathroom rule remains in place pending appeals. Continued lack of access in public schools to bathrooms matching transgender persons’ gender identity won’t cause them irreparable harm, a Texas federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Reed O’Connor of Wichita Falls, Texas, made that finding Sunday in ruling against two federal executive […]

Texas settles another lawsuit against VW

Hard to keep track, I know. Volkswagen will pay the state of Texas $50 million to settle a deceptive trade practices lawsuit brought against the automaker. The settlement is part of an $14.7 billion nationwide agreement to resolve the nation’s largest auto scandal. Volkswagen mislead consumers by promoting diesel vehicles as “clean” even though the […]

Judge issues injunction against overtime pay change

Because of cours he did. Millions of low-paid supervisors would have become eligible for overtime pay next week, but a federal judge in Texas blocked that path late Tuesday afternoon, ruling that Congress intended duties, not wages, to determine eligibility for overtime and minimum wage. U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, sitting in Sherman, issued […]

Federal court rules there is such a thing as a too-partisan gerrymander

Worth keeping an eye on. In a potentially transformative decision that could hobble partisan gerrymandering and restore a degree of fairness to many legislative races, a divided federal court held on Monday that Wisconsin’s state assembly maps are unconstitutional. The court reached this decision despite a web of Supreme Court decisions that have discouraged, if […]

Pasadena voting rights trial update

Day One: The disparity in infrastructure is at the heart of a voting rights case that opened in federal court Thursday in which a group of Latino residents is challenging the city’s newly revised system of government, saying it discriminates against minority voters and intentionally dilutes their power. By creating two at-large council seats and […]

So now what for voter ID?

It’s hard to say how much prospects have changed now that Donald Trump gets to appoint the ninth Supreme Court justice, but it’s fair to say that thing haven’t improved for the plaintiffs. Five years ago, Texas passed one of the strictest Voter ID laws in the country. The legal fight began immediately and has […]

Former HISD Trustee Marshall found liable in civil bribery lawsuit

Ouch. A bribery lawsuit that kept a cloud of suspicion over the Houston school district for six years ended Wednesday with a jury finding that former board president Larry Marshall participated in a kickback scheme that caused millions of dollars in damages to a local construction contractor. The civil jury decided in favor of the […]

Pasadena voting rights trial begins

The Chron’s Mike Snyder provides an update. [This] week in a Houston federal courtroom, [the Voting Rights Act] will again be invoked in a challenge to an allegedly discriminatory council system, this time in a suburban city that’s undergone a dramatic demographic transformation. The lawyers involved in the case, Patino v. Pasadena, will face off […]

We may never know how the state did its court-ordered voter ID outreach

We sure don’t know how the money was spent on it. On a television ad airing ahead of Election Day, Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos declares: “It’s voting season in Texas.” The 30-second spot tailored by international public relations giant Burson-Marsteller is supposed to serve as a quick explainer to educate Texans on new […]

More on the Texas telemedicine lawsuit

Texas Monthly has a nice overview. Imagine you’re sick, or you think you might be sick, and you want to talk to a doctor. Instead of waiting a week or two to see your primary care physician, you just open an app on your phone or computer and within minutes you’re video-chatting with a doctor […]

Lawsuit filed against Bexar County over voter ID info

We’re still fighting this out. An advocacy group has filed a lawsuit against Bexar County for misinforming voters about the state’s voter ID rules. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), filed the lawsuit Friday afternoon on behalf of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP). MALDEF attorneys argue that since Monday, October […]

Election Day observers coming from Justice Department over ADA complaints

That’s a complicated headline for this story. Six teams of Justice Department officials will be dispatched to observe Election Day voting at 75 polling locations in Harris County as part of an investigation into allegations that the county failed to provide reasonable access to mobility-impaired voters. Harris County will field its own teams on Election […]

Republicans take their desperate shot at limiting same sex marriage

Pathetic. After coming out on the losing end of a United States Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, Texas Republican leaders are now looking to the Texas Supreme Court to narrow the scope of that landmark ruling. Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday filed an amicus […]

Texas gets VW lawsuit settlement money

Not bad. Texas will receive more than $190 million for environmental mitigation under a multibillion-dollar settlement in the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal approved by a federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday. Volkswagen buyers will have the option of buybacks or repairs. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer authorized the $15 billion agreement, which was first […]

Feds to appeal transgender bathroom directive

Good. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to appeal a Texas judge’s injunctionbarring the Obama administration from implementing guidelines aimed at protecting transgender students against discrimination. DOJ attorneys announced in court documents Friday that they’ll file formal notice that they’re appealing the injunction to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on or before […]

Republicans join Woodfill’s ridiculous anti-spousal benefits crusade

Shoveling sand against the tide. Fifty Republican members of the Texas Legislature have signed a court brief arguing that the same-sex spouses of government employees shouldn’t be entitled to health insurance and other benefits. The “friend-of-the-court” brief was submitted Friday in a lawsuit brought by anti-LGBT activists against the city of Houston in response to […]

Paxton sues Brownsville over bag fee

Of course he does. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is wading into another fight over local control; this one about plastic bags at grocery stores. The Republican on Wednesday sued the city of Brownsville over its $1 per-bag fee, started in 2011 to cut down on waste, calling it an “illegal sales tax.” “Clearly, Brownsville […]

State moves to withdraw Syrian refugee lawsuit

Good, though at this point it probably doesn’t matter. A week after the state officially withdrewfrom the nation’s refugee resettlement program, Texas has moved to end its legal battle over Syrian refugees. In a short, three-page motion, Texas on Friday asked the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the state’s appeal of a […]

The cost of defending HB2

It was quite expensive. Texas could be on the hook for more than $4.5 million as part of its failed legal battle to defend its 2013 abortion restrictions, which the U.S. Supreme struck down as unconstitutional in June. The Center for Reproductive Rights late Friday filed its request for that amount in attorney’s fees and […]

Jared Woodfill never stops never stopping

Here we go again. Fifteen months after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, anti-LGBT groups in Texas are still fighting the decision. Jonathan Saenz, president of the right-wing lobby group Texas Values, and Houston anti-LGBT activist Jared Woodfill announced Tuesday that they’re again asking the Texas Supreme Court to […]

SCOTUS rejects reconsideration of immigration ruling

Alas. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined the Obama administration’s request to reconsider a controversial immigration program that would have let millions of undocumented immigrants stay in the country legally. The program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, would have shielded about 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. It was scheduled […]

Other rideshare companies sued over lack of access for disabled people

Noted for the record. A state disability rights group has sued the ride-hailing apps Get Me and Fare in federal court, arguing that because the apps only partially offer text-to-speech software, they are unusable for blind people and therefore in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, Austin resident and accessibility consultant Jeanine Lineback, […]

Texas versus the feds: A Series Of Tubes edition

Ken Paxton will never run out of reasons to sue the Obama administration. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is jumping into Ted Cruz’s fight to stop what the U.S. senator calls President Barack Obama’s illegal internet “giveaway.” Paxton and three other attorneys general filed a lawsuit Wednesday night aiming to halt the Obama administration’s plan […]

Clean Power Plan’s day in the DC court

We’ll see how it goes. Dozens of lawyers from the government, industry and public interest groups packed the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, to hear the divisive case that comes just weeks before a heated presidential election and illustrates how a President’s picks for the lower court might impact his own agenda. […]

More lawyers for the bail practices lawsuit

I’m still not thrilled about this. Harris County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to add another law firm to the county’s court fight against bail reform, a group whose job will be representing 16 county criminal judges who were recently added to a pending federal civil rights lawsuit. […] Records show Harris County already has paid […]

Back to court for the Clean Power Plan

Here we go. One of the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s final acts on Earth may have been to doom it. Last February, on the final Tuesday of Scalia’s life, the Supreme Court handed down a 5–4 decision suspending the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. It was a surprising development — a lower court panel that included a […]

School district to join lawsuit over STAAR test

Interesting. Ben Becker, the Houston father who helped organize a legal fight over last year’s STAAR exams, has repeatedly challenged superintendents over the last few months to join him in court to fight for their students. Becker describes his group as a handful of Texas parents up against the state of Texas, backed by a […]

ACLU intervenes in transgender health care suit

Good for them. The ACLU and ACLU of Texas are getting involved in a lawsuit over a regulation in the Affordable Care Act. In August, Texas filed a lawsuit against federal regulations that prohibit healthcare discrimination against people who are transgender. The lawsuit was announced by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, representing the Franciscan […]

More on the Sandra Bland settlement

State Rep. Garnet Coleman is working to implement the reforms mandated by the Sandra Bland lawsuit settlement. House Democrats sparred with state law enforcement officials over questions of racial profiling Tuesday at a sometimes contentious hearing. It was the latest in a series of House County Affairs Committee hearings on policing in advance of the […]