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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

AG opposes parents in STAAR lawsuit

Interesting. The Texas attorney general says parents suing to get the state to toss out student test scores lack standing and should have taken their complaints to the Texas Education Agency rather than a court. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office filed the response in Travis County District Court Monday, denying “each and every allegation” from […]

HISD sued over school name changes

Not a surprise. Nine members of the local community on Thursday sued Houston’s public school district, alleging the district violated numerous laws and their own regulations when recently changing the names of eight schools. “We’ve been arguing as parents and taxpayers for months that the vote was illegal, politically driven, and taking these historic buildings […]

Lawsuit filed in Austin over short-term rental ordinance

Geez. The gig economy — specifically, the short-term rental industry that includes HomeAway, Airbnb, and VRBO — is under attack by the city of Austin, Texas, according to a lawsuit filed in state court June 20, which was sponsored by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The lawsuit asks the court to issue an injunction halting […]

SCOTUS punts on immigration order

Ugh. ealing a major blow to President Obama’s controversial executive immigration order, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Thursday it had failed to produce a majority opinion on the policy — meaning that the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ November 2015 decision rejecting the policy stands. The program had been blocked in February 2015 by […]

Another lawsuit filed over Prop 1 ballot language in Austin

Sure, why not? It’s Uber Zimmerman! Litigious District 6 Councilman Don Zimmerman sued Mayor Steve Adler in his official capacity Thursday, challenging the outcome of the Proposition 1 election on the grounds the ballot language “misled voters and omitted main features” and did not conform to the required format, case caption information shows. A copy […]

Our tax system isn’t quite as stupid as it could be

Good news! A Texas Supreme Court ruling has spared the state from having to issue billions of dollars in tax refunds to oil and gas drillers — a prospect that had had threatened to shake up the next legislative session. The justices on Friday sided with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar in an arcane tax dispute […]

Texas anti-refugee lawsuit dismissed

Good. Texas on Thursday lost its fight against the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state, ending a months-long battle during which refugees from the war-torn country continued to arrive. Dealing the final blow to Gov. Greg Abbott’s effort to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, a federal judge dismissed Texas’ lawsuit against the […]

Former drivers sue Uber and Lyft over leaving Austin

This ought to be interesting. A pair of former drivers for Uber and Lyft filed dual class action lawsuits Thursday against the ride-hailing companies over their abrupt exit last month from the Austin market. The lawsuits, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, claim that Uber and Lyft violated the […]

Just waiting on SCOTUS’ HB2 ruling

We’ll know by the end of the month, one way or the other. In the next few weeks the U.S. Supreme Court, in one of the most significant reproductive rights cases in more than two decades, is expected to determine the future of abortion access in Texas and possibly for other states across the country. […]

Hanen stays his sanctions

Good. The Texas-based judge that last year put a hold on President Obama’s executive order on immigration decided on Tuesday to also suspend a controversial punishment he had recently issued to the administration’s attorneys. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen asserted in May that the federal government’s attorneys intentionally misled his court during last year’s proceedings over the […]

Justice Department appeals Hanen sanctions to Fifth Circuit

Missed this over the weekend. Escalating its constitutional battle with a federal judge over the ethics of government lawyers in the major test case on presidential power over immigration, the Justice Department late Friday night asked a federal appeals court to swiftly nullify the judge’s order of sanctions.  In a massive filing of nearly four […]

Groups ask Fifth Circuit to block Judge Hanen order

Interesting. A coalition of civil and immigrant rights groups on Friday asked an appeals court to stop a federal judge’s order that requires the Obama administration to turn over the confidential information of thousands of undocumented immigrants. The filing in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals by the National Immigration Law Center, the American […]

SCOTUS declines to hear Ted Cruz birther lawsuit

Not that it really matters at this point. The Supreme Court declined Tuesday to hear a lawsuit arguing that Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is ineligible to be president because his Canadian birth means he is not a “natural born citizen.” The justices upheld a lower court ruling from March that found Walter Wagner, a […]

Justice Department asks Judge Hanen to reconsider his last order

Can’t hurt to ask, I guess. The Obama administration has asked a Brownsville-based judge to rethink an order that requires the federal government to turn over the private information of thousands of undocumented immigrants. The May 19 order from U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen asserted that the federal government’s attorneys intentionally misled the court during […]

Anyone want to help me sue the feds?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? When Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that he had filed a lawsuit challenging federal guidelines for transgender students, he said it was to protect a Texas school district that had adopted a policy requiring students to use bathrooms according to the gender cited on their birth certificates. He didn’t say […]

Voter ID’s day before the full Fifth Circuit

Here we go again. A top lawyer for Texas fiercely defended the state’s strictest-in-the-nation voter identification law on Tuesday, in a high-profile case that could ultimately determine at what point states that assert that they are protecting the integrity of elections cross over into disenfranchisement. Standing before all 15 members of the U.S. 5th Circuit […]

Lawsuit filed over STAAR exams

Interesting. A backlash against this year’s STAAR exams escalated Monday when a group of parents sued the state in an attempt to keep schools from using 2016 test scores to rate students — including deciding whether students should advance to the next grade or attend summer school. The lawsuit, filed against the Texas Education Agency […]

Judge Hanen’s bizarre order

WTF? A federal judge with a history of anti-immigrant sentiment ordered the federal government to turn over the names, addresses and “all available contact information” of over 100,000 immigrants living within the United States. He does so in a strange order that quotes extensively from movie scripts and that alleges a conspiracy of attorneys “somewhere […]

Full DC Circuit Court to review Clean Power Plan

From ThinkProgress, an update on yet another federal lawsuit involving Texas. The Clean Power Plan will get its day in court, but in September, not June — and by the full en banc D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, not the court’s normal three-judge panel that was scheduled to hear it in just over two weeks. […]

Lawsuit filed over Harris County bail practices

This could be a big deal. An advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., challenged Harris County’s bail system on Thursday, arguing in a federal civil rights lawsuit that hundreds of offenders are unlawfully jailed for minor offenses like trespassing and shoplifting simply because they are poor and cannot afford even nominal bail payments. Lawyers for […]

Paxton opines on Syrian refugees

Whatever. Attorney General Ken Paxton sought Tuesday to bolster the state’s thus-far unsuccessful efforts to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in Texas by issuing a legal opinion that stresses the state’s rights in the matter. His opinion, which doesn’t carry the force of law, said any conditions placed on the state’s acceptance of federal refugee […]

Paxton asks the feds if they’re sure about that bathroom thing

Just checking, I’m sure. Will public schools really lose federal education funding if they refuse to comply with a new Obama administration directive regarding transgender students? That’s the basic query posed by top lawyers from Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. Justice and Education departments seeking clarification on […]

SCOTUS punts on birth control lawsuit

Wow. Zubik v. Burwell was supposed to be an epic showdown over the power of religious objectors to limit the rights of others. A sequel to the Court’s 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Zubik involved regulations expanding women’s access to birth control that the conservative justices appeared to endorse in Hobby Lobby — even […]

Lawsuit filed over Uber/Lyft referendum language

Oh, for crying out loud. Attorney Martin Harry filed a lawsuit — a draft of it was obtained by the American-Statesman — in Travis County state district court late Tuesday contesting the election’s outcome, alleging that the city violated election law by combining what should have been two ballot questions into one. “I don’t think […]

Supreme Court upholds school finance system

I’m stunned. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday issued a ruling upholding the state’s public school funding system as constitutional, while asserting it could be better. “Our Byzantine school funding ‘system’ is undeniably imperfect, with immense room for improvement. But it satisfies minimum constitutional requirements,” Justice Don Willett wrote in the court’s 100-page opinion, which […]

Meyers voter ID lawsuit on hold

That’s my interpretation of this. Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Larry Meyers and his co-plaintiff yesterday nonsuited their lawsuit against the state that claimed the voter ID law was unconstitutional. The plantiffs plan to refile their lawsuit after they gather more evidence, said their attorney, Andrew Sommerman. The nonsuit came just one day after […]

Rideshare robocall lawsuit filed

This ought to be interesting. Ride-hailing company Uber was hit with a class-action lawsuit on Wednesday over “robo-text messages” the company has been sending Austin customers seeking their support for a controversial referendum on the ballot Saturday. The suit, filed in federal court, claims Uber violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending “thousands […]

A new way to attack gerrymandering

From Think Progress: America’s anti-gerrymandering law is an incoherent mess. Thirty years ago, in Davis v. Bandemer, the Supreme Court held that a partisan gerrymander may be struck down as unconstitutional upon proof of “both intentional discrimination against an identifiable political group and an actual discriminatory effect on that group.” Yet the Court struggled to […]

Republican attorneys general file briefs in support of Texas’ voter ID law

Birds of a feather. Fifteen Republican-controlled states are wading into the contentious court fight over Texas’ voter ID law, arguing in a legal brief that similar laws around the country have already been upheld by the courts. […] Ahead of oral arguments [this] month, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is leading a coalition of GOP […]

Paxton prosecutor payment lawsuit tossed again

And again I say, good. The Fifth Court of Appeals has dismissed a challenge to the payments being made to three sets of special prosecutors appointed in connection with criminal charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Collin County taxpayer Jeffory Blackard filed a civil suit late last year challenging the $300-per-hour fees charged by […]

Meyers’ voter ID lawsuit gets appellate hearing

I hope he gets to keep it going. [Court of Criminal Appeals Justice Lawrence] Meyers filed his state lawsuit in October 2014, while another legal challenge to the state’s voter ID law was pending in federal court in Corpus Christi. A federal judge overturned the law, but it has remained in effect during the state’s […]

Houston’s anti-pollution ordinance killed by Supreme Court

Alas. In passing two ordinances designed to regulate air pollution, the city of Houston overstepped its authority and illegally subverted state law, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday. The ruling is a victory for a coalition of industrial facilities whose emissions were subject to inspection and possible prosecution by the city. The case pit the […]

SCOTUS declines to intervene in voter ID case for now

Not what I would have wanted, but not the end of the line. Even as a federal appeals court prepares to review the constitutionality of Texas’ controversial voter ID law, the law will remain in effect, the U.S. Supreme Court said in an order Friday. However, noting the time-sensitive nature of the case as the […]

“Space City” fight escalates

It’s getting real. The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau is asking a federal judge to stop a rival comic convention from using the phrase “Space City” for its three-day festival scheduled for NRG Center over Memorial Day weekend. The convention bureau filed a request Friday for a temporary restraining order to prevent Space City […]