Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Abbott’s actions in the Hecht ethics case belie his “just doing my job” evasion

More accurately, it’s his lack of action that speaks clearly about his priorities and discretion. Attorney General Greg Abbott, accused of favoritism in his handling of an ethics case involving a Texas Supreme Court justice, says it’s not his duty to press the case that has sat idle for two years. That reasoning, however, doesn’t […]

On Greg Abbott and who gets to get married

As you may have heard, Peggy Fikac got to ask Greg Abbott the obvious question about how exactly the state’s law against same-sex marriage, which Abbott is diligently defending in court, differs from the old laws that once banned interracial marriage, and would he have defended those as well since he claims he’s just doing […]

SCOTUS declines to intervene on voter ID

Unfortunate. The Supreme Court said Saturday that Texas can use its controversial new voter identification law for the November election. A majority of the justices rejected an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification in order to cast […]

City files amended petitions

From the inbox: As follow up to a promise made earlier in the week, the City of Houston has revised its subpoenas in the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) repeal petition case. The disputed request has been narrowed to focus solely on communications related to HERO and the petition gathering process. There is no mention […]

TPJ files suit against Abbott over Hecht ethics case

Here we go again. An Austin legal watchdog group filed suit Wednesday to force action on a $29,000 ethics fine, levied against Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht in 2008, that has languished on appeal for 5½ years. The motion from Texans for Public Justice seeks to remove Attorney General Greg Abbott from the […]

Voter ID plaintiffs turn to SCOTUS

Last train, y’all. Texas plaintiffs on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the state’s voter photo ID law in November’s election. “The facts of this case, including record evidence, show that significantly more voter confusion will result from granting the stay (and thus enforcing Texas’s Senate Bill 14) than would result from reinstating […]

The courts giveth, and the courts taketh away

As expected, the Fifth Circuit lifts the stay on the district court’s voter ID ruling, paving the way (for now) for it to be enforced in November. Texas should require photo voter identification in this year’s general election, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday, overturning an earlier ruling by a federal district […]

Appeals court rules against KSP

From last week, from the inbox via the Texas Democratic Party: (Yesterday), the Texas Democratic Party prevailed in King Street Patriots v. Texas Democratic Party, when the Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District confirmed a lower court decision to uphold provisions of Texas campaign finance law. [Campaign Legal Center, 10/8/2014] The Texas Democratic […]

Abbott’s appellate response brief is the same old junk

Pathetic. Attorney General Greg Abbott says Texas’ same-sex marriage ban should remain in place because legalizing it would do little or nothing to encourage heterosexual couples to get married and have children. Writing in a brief filed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, Abbott said the state was not obligated to […]

Voter ID plaintiffs ask for no stay

They’ve filed their response to the Fifth Circuit. Attorneys challenging Texas’ voter ID law — which was struck down by a federal judge on Thursday — asked a federal appeals court on Sunday not to allow the state to enforce the law. In a brief filed with the U.S. 5th Circuit of Appeals, lawyers for […]

Court strikes down Texas voter ID law

Boom. Less than two weeks before the start of early voting, a federal judge ruled the state’s photo voter ID law unconstitutional late Thursday and ordered state officials to drop the new requirements. “The Court holds that SB 14 creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics […]

HB2 plaintiffs ask SCOTUS for review

Be careful what you ask for. After a federal appeals court ruled that the state could temporarily enforce new requirements for abortion facilities, Texas abortion providers are looking to the U.S. Supreme Court. On Monday, attorneys for the abortion providers challenging the state’s House Bill 2 filed an emergency application asking the Supreme Court to […]

Other AGs for same sex marriage

Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone like one of these 15 Attorneys General representing Texas? A majority of the states that have legalized same-sex marriage are throwing their support behind two couples fighting Texas’ ban, arguing their own experiences show only positive effects from expanding the right to gays and lesbians. [Last] Monday, the […]

Texas same sex marriage plaintiffs want the get oral arguments scheduled

They would like to get on with their lives, if it’s not too much trouble to Greg Abbott and the Fifth Circuit. Austin lawyer Nicole Dimetman is pregnant and expects to give birth for the first time on March 15, lawyers trying to overturn Texas’ gay-marriage ban announced Sunday. “The need for justice and equality […]

Another voter ID lawsuit filed

Well, this is interesting. While a federal judge in Corpus Christi mulls whether the state’s requirement to show photo ID to cast a ballot violates the federal Voting Rights Act, a judge on the highest criminal appeals court in Texas is taking another approach: He’s suing the state over its relatively new voter ID law. […]

HB2 is about overturning Roe v Wade

A cheery thought from Think Progress. Nevertheless, the single most ominous paragraph of the opinion, at least for people who care about reproductive freedom, is this one: Plaintiffs argue that the district court’s balancing approach is used by other circuits. We agree with Plaintiffs that some circuits have used the balancing test to enjoin abortion […]

Fifth Circuit lifts injunction on HB2 enforcement

This court is the worst. As it hears arguments in an appeal of a federal judge’s decision overturning new requirements for Texas abortion facilities, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the state could enforce the requirements in the meantime. That means eight abortion clinics across five major […]

Abbott appeals school finance case to Supreme Court

No surprise. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Friday appealed to the Texas Supreme Court a district court finding that the state’s school finance system is unconstitutional. State District Judge John Dietz’s Aug. 30 ruling called Texas’ current school finance system inefficient and inadequate, saying it created an de facto statewide property tax in violation […]

County appeals Wilson decision

Here we go again. Harris County officials are asking an appeals court to reconsider the question of where Dave Wilson lived when he ran for his seat on the Houston Community College board, The Harris County Attorney’s office is appealing a reluctant ruling by state district Judge Mike Engelhart, who in August upheld a jury […]

Voter ID trial concludes

Now we wait for the judge. Texas’ voter ID law is discriminatory because it was designed to thwart emerging minority voting power in the state and should be dropped, attorneys for the law’s opponents said in closing arguments in a federal court on Monday. U.S. Department of Justice attorney Richard Dellheim repeated plaintiffs’ claims made […]

Law enforcement for same sex marriage

Bravo, y’all. The Democratic sheriffs of Texas’ two most populous counties have signed on with more than 60 other Texas law enforcement officials and first responders saying the state’s ban on same sex marriage not only disrespects but endangers front-line public safety officers. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia lent […]

Texas woman denied driver’s license over same-sex marriage

That’s the headline of this Observer story, and it’s just as infuriating as you think it is. A woman who recently relocated from California says the Texas Department of Public Safety refused to issue her an accurate driver’s license because her last name was changed through a same-sex marriage. After Connie Wilson married her partner […]

Fifth Circuit hears HB2 arguments

As always with anything that involves the Fifth Circuit, pessimism is called for. Federal appeals court judges who got their first look at the latest challenge to Texas’ tough new abortion law Friday appeared to show support for the law but some reluctance to immediately allow it to be enforced as the legal fight over […]

Plaintiffs respond to Abbott’s brief in same sex marriage appeal

They give it the respect it deserves. Lawyers for two same-sex couples who are trying to overturn Texas’ gay marriage ban said Tuesday that the state’s attempt to defend its prohibition has defied both logic and a stream of recent judicial rulings. “As numerous courts already concluded, no conceivable basis exists to deny same-sex couples […]

Voter ID trial testimony ends

The state of Texas put on its case in the voter ID trial. Lawyers from the Texas attorney general’s office presented witnesses Wednesday in federal court defending the state voter ID law as necessary and attempting to rebuff claims that it is discriminatory. The state’s case in the federal trial, now in its second week, […]

Defense to begin in voter ID lawsuit

Entering the home stretch. The Texas voter ID trial with national implications is shifting its focus in U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos’ courtroom Tuesday. After a week of testimony largely opposed to the law, the State of Texas’ legal team is slated to begin making its case for the law’s constitutionality and necessity after […]

The best coverage of the voter ID trial

You want to know what’s going on with the voter ID trial, which enters its second and likely final week today, go check out the Brennan Center for Justice, which has daily coverage that would put any newspaper to shame. Here’s a sample of what they’ve written so far: Texas Photo ID Trial Update: Opening […]

Abbott issues bag ban opinion

It’s complicated. Do plastic bag bans and restrictions in cities like Austin, Laredo, and Brownsville violate Texas law? According to an opinion issued by Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office handed down on Friday afternoon, that depends on how you define two phrases: “container or package” and “solid waste management.” Opinions on Texas law from the […]

Louisiana breaks the streak

One in every crowd, I guess. A federal judge [in New Orleans] upheld the state’s ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, going against what had been a unanimous trend of federal court decisions striking down such bans since the Supreme Court ruled on the matter last year. In his ruling, Judge Martin L. C. Feldman […]

Fifth Circuit will hear HB2 enforcement arguments next Friday

The temporary reprieve will last at least one more week. Texas abortion providers’ next hurdle in their legal fight against strict abortion regulations is set for next week in a hearing scheduled for federal court. State attorneys and lawyers representing a coalition of abortion providers will face off on Sept. 12 in New Orleans, where […]

All married city employees may continue to receive spousal benefits for now

Good news. Married same-sex couples will continue to receive health and life insurance benefits from the city of Houston, a federal judge ruled Friday, pending the outcome of an appeal in a separate lawsuit. [...] [Mayor Annise] Parker’s policy change spurred two lawsuits. The first lawsuit came from conservatives, who argued the policy change violates […]

What next for school finance?

That depends on the Attorney General and the Supreme Court, but one way or the other it’s up to the Legislature. State lawmakers from both parties agreed the responsibility for funding public schools falls on them. But history suggests the Legislature is reluctant to act until its hand is forced. “I would be surprised if […]

Abbott appeals HB2 ruling

As expected. As expected, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an appeal to the 5th Circuit Court Sunday to overturn a recent federal court ruling that found parts of Texas’ abortion law, House Bill 2, unconstitutional. Abortion providers filed suit over a regulation, that was set to take effect today (Sept. 1) that would mandate […]

Voter ID trial starts today

As one trial ends, the next one begins. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi will begin hearing arguments Tuesday on one of the nation’s most stringent voter ID measures, which Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed into law in 2011. A ruling is unlikely before Election Day, meaning that 13.6 million registered voters […]