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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Paxton continues his war on transgender people

This is just ugly. Ramping up its fight over the rights of transgender people, Texas filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government over a regulation prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in some health programs. Texas, on behalf of Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network, and four other states are claiming the new federal regulation […]

STAAR test lawsuit survives motion to dismiss

On to trial. After a group of parents sued the Texas Education Agency over the 2016 administration of STAAR exams, state lawyers argued this summer that the parents had no standing and asked the courts to drop the case. This week, the first day of school for many Texas children, Travis County District Court Judge […]

Preliminary injunction granted in transgender bathroom directive case

Ugh. A federal judge in Fort Worth has blocked Obama administration guidelines directing the nation’s public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and other facilities that align with their gender identity. In a 38-page order released Sunday, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor said the “status quo” should remain in place nationwide until […]

No injunction for campus carry

So much for that. A federal judge has denied three University of Texas at Austin professors’ initial attempt to keep guns out of their classrooms under the state’s campus carry law. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the professors, who had sought a preliminary injunction to block implementation of the law, had failed to […]

Bail practices lawsuit update

There was a hearing in court this week, and the judge was skeptical. U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal declined Thursday to rule on whether Harris County should be dismissed from a lawsuit intended to force officials to reform a tough bail system in which more than 70 percent of jail inmates are being held pretrial. […]

State sues Alabama-Coushatta tribe over casino

Here we go again. A new legal salvo was fired this week in the state’s long-running battle against Indian gambling with a filing in federal court that seeks to close the gaming hall on the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation. A motion for contempt and injunctive relief was filed Monday by Attorney General Ken Paxton, claiming that the […]

More on the latest voting rights lawsuit ruling

Coverage from the Chron: In contrast to the discourse over the voter ID law, it’s not clear there are many political stakes over the law [Judge Robert] Pitman tossed out Friday. There are enough Hispanic and Latino voters in every county in Texas to mandate Spanish-language assistance at polls across the state, so Friday’s ruling […]

Laredo plastic bag ban overturned

Ugh. The Fourth Court of Appeals on Wednesday sided with merchants and free-market groups who argued that Laredo’s ban on single-use bags is illegal because it is pre-empted by state law regulating solid waste disposal. The 2-1 ruling overturned a lower court’s decision, the latest setback for environmentalists and advocates of local control in Texas. […]

Texas to appeal voter ID ruling to SCOTUS

Sure, whatever. Texas plans to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a lower court decision that found the state’s voter ID law discriminates against minorities. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office said Tuesday it will appeal the ruling to the high court “to protect the integrity of voting in the State of Texas.” […]

Microbrewery lawsuit heard in court

I can’t wait to see how this turns out. Just how much is it worth for that Velvet Hammer or other local craft brew to make it to your favorite bar or convenience store? That’s one of several key questions that came before a state district court Monday, as a group of craft brewers — […]

Texas loses another voting rights lawsuit

Good. A federal judge Friday blocked Texas from enforcing a state law that limits the availability of interpreters in polling places, ruling that it violates protections guaranteed by the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of Austin came in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Mallika Das, who was […]

No ruling yet in potty lawsuit

We should get one soon, at least as far as the request for an injunction goes. U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor did not issue a ruling from the bench after an almost two-hour long hearing during which state attorneys — as part of a Texas-led, 13-state effort to block the guidelines — argued they […]

Transgender rights are about more than bathrooms

There’s also drivers licenses. A Texas appeals court ruled last week that a transgender man isn’t entitled to change the gender marker on his driver’s license from “female” to “male.” However, LGBT legal experts say they don’t expect the decision from the 14th Court of Appeals, which covers the Houston area, to have much practical […]

Voter ID changes approved

We’re all set. Texas’ voter ID law, cast as the strictest in the nation, will be substantially watered down during November’s election after a federal judge Wednesday approved a deal that allows those lacking required identification to cast a ballot by signing an affidavit. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos agreed to terms worked out […]

UT and AG ask for campus carry lawsuit to be dismissed

Pretty standard procedure. The Texas Attorney General’s Office and University of Texas at Austin on Monday asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by three UT-Austin professors seeking to keep guns out of their classrooms despite the state’s new campus carry law. In two separate court filings, lawyers for the university and […]

Family of Ahmed Mohamed files lawsuit against his former school

I’d sue, too. Nearly one year after 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a “suspicious-looking” homemade clock to class, his family has filed suit against his former Texas school district, the principal of the high school and the city of Irving. The lawsuit filed Monday claims that Ahmed’s civil rights were violated in the […]

Appeals court blocks litigation against payday lenders

Lousy. The Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio derailed a class action lawsuit aimed at keeping payday lenders from using the state’s criminal justice system as de facto collection agencies. The suit filed by 1,400 plaintiffs argued that Cash Biz, a payday lender, illegally used district attorney offices to file criminal charges against debtors. […]

SCOTUS blocks order on transgender bathroom access for students

For now. The Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily blocked a court order that had allowed a transgender boy to use the boys’ bathroom in a Virginia high school. The vote was 5 to 3, with Justice Stephen G. Breyer joining the court’s more conservative members “as a courtesy.” He said that this would preserve the […]

Harris County sued over disabled voting access

This ought to be interesting. Harris County, which includes Houston, has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because many of its polling places are inaccessible to voters with disabilities, a new lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice alleges. Many polling places in Harris County, which were surveyed by the justice department during elections […]

Paxton responds to campus carry lawsuit

It’s about what you’d expect. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday called a lawsuit brought by three University of Texas at Austin professors against the state’s campus carry law “frivolous” and said the professors have no valid reasons for opposing guns on campus. Paxton filed a brief in response to the lawsuit Monday, saying […]

Voter ID law changes agreed to

We have a deal. Texas struck a deal Wednesday that will soften its voter ID law for the November general election — a development that lawyers suing the state say will make it easier for minorities to cast their ballots. The state reached the agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and minority rights groups […]

Get ready for the next abortion lawsuit

Expect it in a couple of months. Texas’ proposed rules requiring the cremation or burial of fetal remains “will almost certainly trigger costly litigation,” reproductive rights lawyers say. In a letter to the Texas Department of State Health Services, lawyers with the Center for Reproductive Rights on Monday argued that the new rules — proposed at […]

Friday was a very good day for voting rights

In North Carolina: The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s opinion in North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. McCrory is nothing short of a beat down. The court does not simply tear apart major provisions of the law, it catches state lawmakers at the center of a conspiracy to disenfranchise […]

Paxton sues Austin over open carry

No subtext at all to this, I’m sure. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the city of Austin in Travis County district court, trying to force the city to comply with his reading of the state’s open carry law and allow license holders to openly carry handguns in city hall. After the open carry […]

Can we PLEASE get some action on redistricting?

From the Lone Star Project: Earlier today, plaintiffs in the pending Texas congressional and state house redistricting case filed a motion with the presiding three-judge federal panel in San Antonio requesting a conference to discuss further action on the case.  The motion was jointly filed by the Quesada plaintiffs (supported by the Lone Star Project), […]

Media covers latest voting rights lawsuit

Glad they finally noticed. A group of Hispanic voters has filed a lawsuit challenging how Texas selects judges to its top two courts, arguing that statewide elections for the state Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals dilutes the voting strength of minorities. The suit is the latest to allege the state’s election structure […]

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 […]