Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Lawsuit threatened in Hood County over clerk’s refusal to issue marriage license

I was beginning to think that none of Texas’ 254 County Clerks were going to attempt to martyr themselves in the name of their “religious freedom” to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. I shouldn’t have worried. Attorneys for a same-sex couple are preparing to sue Hood County Clerk Katie Lang after the couple […]

Now Texas is suing the EPA over its clean water plan

Another day, another anti-environmental lawsuit. It’s what we do. For the 20th time since the Obama administration took office in 2009, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is facing a lawsuit from Texas. Joined by Louisiana and Mississippi, Texas is challenging the “Waters of the U.S.” rule which the EPA finalized Monday. That rule is aimed […]

Texas throws in the towel with the Fifth Circuit

Hallelujah. The 5th Circuit should affirm a lower court ruling that overturned Texas’ long-standing ban on same-sex marriage, Scott Keller, the state’s solicitor general, wrote in a letter to the appellate court. That letter was in response to the appellate court’s request that the state and the plaintiffs advise the court on the next steps […]

Ready to engage in the next fight

No rest for the righteous. On Monday, national and state gay rights leaders and the plaintiffs who sued for marriage equality convened in front of the Texas Capitol to make a different kind of vow: The fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is not over. The next frontier, they said, is pushing for […]

SCOTUS gives polluters a win

Alas. t emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants, but it may only be a temporary setback for regulators. The justices split 5-4 along ideological lines to rule that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to take cost into account when it first decided to regulate the toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired plants. The […]

One more holdout concedes

Hood County and its outspoken County Clerk bow to the inevitable. A Texas county clerk said on Tuesday her office will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, reversing a previous decision that was based on religious objections. Some counties in other socially conservative states such as Kentucky have declined to issue such licenses since the […]

HBU contraceptive coverage decision overturned

Good. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has turned back a challenge brought by several Texas religious organizations that oppose offering insurance contraceptive coverage to their employees, concluding that the plaintiffs have no right to challenge the conduct of third parties. The recent decision also found that U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 2014 […]

More counties issuing same sex marriage licenses

Montgomery County: Montgomery County Clerk Mark Turnbull said he turned one same-sex couple away on Friday who requested a marriage license, but wound up issuing the license after regular hours on Saturday. He initially refused because he was waiting for clarification from the state on what form to use, but after the courthouse closed Friday […]

SCOTUS puts HB2 back on hold

Good. For now, anyway. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with Texas abortion providers and temporarily put on hold a ruling that would have closed about half of the state’s abortion facilities. There were 19 abortion providers performing the procedure in Texas as of earlier this month. Abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature […]

Where same sex marriage is still functionally illegal in Texas

Smith County: After a historic Supreme Court ruling, making same sex marriage legal in all fifty states, couples across the country flocked to courthouses to be legally married. Despite the ruling, an East Texas County Court will not be issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Smith County Clerk Karen Phillips said they first […]

A setback for transparency

I don’t care for this. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday limited the public’s right to know about private groups that get government funds. In a 6-3 opinion, the court sided with the Greater Houston Partnership, agreeing that GHP doesn’t have to open its check registers even though it received funds from the city of […]

Moving on to the benefits issue

And as we move on to other fights, the terrain changes. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott opened the door for state agencies to withhold benefits from same-sex couples Friday, hours after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. In a letter released Friday afternoon, Abbott ordered heads of state agencies to prioritize religious freedom, writing that […]

And we begin the next fight

It’s always going to be something. In a somber and defiant statement, Attorney General Ken Paxton proclaimed his next battlefront would be in defense of religious liberty. “The truth is that the debate over the issue of marriage has increasingly devolved into personal and economic aggression against people of faith who have sought to live […]

SCOTUS rules for marriage equality

Boom. Handing gay rights advocates a monumental victory, the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday ruled that marriages between couples of the same sex are constitutional, a decision that overrides Texas’ long-standing ban on gay marriage. In a 5-4 ruling, the high court found that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and that states […]

That other big SCOTUS case from yesterday

Another nice surprise from the mercurial Supreme Court. A sharply divided Supreme Court on Thursday preserved a key tool used for more than four decades to fight housing discrimination, handing a surprising victory to the Obama administration and civil rights activists. The justices ruled 5-4 that federal housing law allows people to challenge lending rules, […]

Remember, don’t rush to get married in Harris County just yet

The Harris County Clerk isn’t ready for you and won’t be for at least a little while. Should the U.S. Supreme court decide to strike down same-sex marriage bans nationwide, a decision that could come as soon as Thursday, county clerks in all but one of Texas’ biggest counties are ready to begin issuing marriage […]

Abbott would like to restore the uninsured rate

It’s what he does. Greg Abbott on Monday urged his fellow Republicans not to “rescue” President Barack Obama’s signature health care law if it is torpedoed by the U.S. Supreme Court, an unusually public stance that could make the first-term Texas governor a leading voice on a national issue dividing the GOP. Abbott’s position, announced […]

No response necessary

Unless it’s “We will respect and fully comply with the court’s ruling”. The U.S. Supreme Court could decide as early as this week whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. For supporters of same-sex marriage, it’s an emotional waiting game. “People are literally on pins and needles,” said Chuck Smith, executive director of […]

It always was about animus towards gays

TPM reviews the history of anti-gay marriage laws and constitutional amendments now that they’re on the verge of being thrown out. Opponents of marriage equality have been claiming that these laws were not enacted with any animus intended towards same-sex couples, but the arguments made at the time these laws were being debated clearly says […]

Off to SCOTUS for HB2

If they want to hear it. Abortion is back before the U.S.A Supreme Court, and the justices could signal by the end of June whether they are likely to take up the biggest case on the contentious subject in nearly a quarter-century. If the court steps in, the hearing and the eventual ruling would come […]

The Fifth Circuit still sucks

They also blow. A federal appeals court on Friday rejected a request from Texas abortion providers to temporarily put on hold a ruling that could leave Texas with nine abortion facilities. Abortion providers had asked the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to delay its own ruling upholding most provisions of House Bill 2 — […]

Texas Supreme Court rules against AG in Austin gay divorce case

One small step, even if it was on a technicality. As Texas waits on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriage, the state’s highest civil court ruled Friday that the Texas attorney general tried too late to stop the divorce of a Texas couple married in Massachusetts. Five members of the Texas Supreme […]

Lawsuit filed over Uptown line

All things considered, I suppose this was inevitable. A homeowner’s association is suing Metro over its involvement in plans to run bus lanes along Post Oak Boulevard, saying the project puts the agency at odds with a 2003 referendum that included adding a rail line along the corridor. The lawsuit was filed Monday just minutes […]

New litigation against ReBuild Houston

To be expected at this point. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the city, seeking to reimburse residents who pay the drainage fee that helps fund ReBuild Houston, the multibillion-dollar streets and drainage improvement program that voters narrowly approved in 2010. The lawsuit comes on the heels of a Texas Supreme Court ruling […]

Lots of people will lose insurance if SCOTUS takes it away from them

Just a reminder. With a U.S. Supreme Court decision looming this month on a point of law that could dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a series of new reports offer a grim glimpse at the toll on Texas should the court decide against the Obama administration. An estimated 1 million in Texas could lose their […]

Lawsuit filed against APF

Sweet. An Austin-based lobbyist has sued the group behind the secret videotaping of Capitol insiders in an attempt to compel it to reveal its major donors and other detailed financial information. Steve Bresnen issued a statement saying he is suing the American Phoenix Foundation and its co-founder Joseph Basel alleging the group broke laws that […]

New hope against the sonogram law?

Possible new hope, but not any time soon. Attorneys who represented Texas doctors in a lawsuit against the state’s 2011 abortion sonogram law are considering their legal options following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Monday decision not to revive a similar North Carolina law. The high court refused to reconsider a North Carolina appellate court’s decision […]

Lawsuit for same sex benefits for state employees filed

It’s all about being proactive. Sensing that state officials will be reluctant to comply with a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, an LGBT civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit Thursday seeking to force Texas to provide equal benefits to the same-sex spouses of public employees. Lambda Legal filed the […]

Supreme Court deals a blow to ReBuild Houston

Ugh. Houston’s divisive, multibillion-dollar effort to fund two decades of street and drainage improvements faces an uncertain future after the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the ballot measure voters narrowly approved in 2010 obscured the nature and cost of the drainage fee at the heart of the ReBuild Houston program. The case now returns […]

Possibly positive sign from the Fifth Circuit on immigration lawsuit appeal

From ThinkProgress: A string of bad luck for immigrants — and for the Obama Administration — might be coming to an end. On Thursday, a federal appeals court indicated that it is not bound by a previous decision that would make it very difficult for the administration to prevail in litigation challenging its immigration policies […]

What happens if SCOTUS does not uphold marriage equality?

Nothing good, that’s for sure. Gay and lesbian couples could face legal chaos if the Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriage in the next few weeks. Same-sex weddings could come to a halt in many states, depending on a confusing mix of lower-court decisions and the sometimes-contradictory views of state and local officials. Among the […]

Fifth Circuit does it again on HB2

Awful. In a blow to the state’s abortion providers, federal appeals judges on Tuesday upheld a state law requiring nearly all Texas facilities that perform the procedure to meet hospital-like standards. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state can require abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center […]

Don’t expect the Harris County Clerk to be ready for the SCOTUS same sex marriage ruling

The Press follows up on a question that we have examined before. [Harris County Clerk Stan] Stanart isn’t planning on staying open later or doing anything to prepare to handle an influx of same-sex couples should the Supremes decide in favor of gay marriage, and he doesn’t seem concerned about getting the right application forms […]

Getting ready for the SCOTUS same sex marriage ruling

Travis County is prepped and raring to go. If the U.S. Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have the right to marry, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir plans to be ready. The clerk’s office, which issues and records marriage licenses from its location at 5501 Airport Blvd., plans to offer extended evening and weekend hours […]