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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Yet another lawsuit against Texas’ ban on same sex marriage

And then there were ten. Texas now has at least 10 pending lawsuits challenging the state’s bans on same-sex marriage — believed to be the most of any state. An Austin lesbian widow is the latest to challenge the marriage bans after her late partner’s family sought to exclude her from the estate — an […]

Lawsuit filed over Pasadena Council districts

Good. For 41 years, Alberto Patiño has lived in Pasadena and seen a lot of changes there. Now Hispanics like him make up more than 60 percent of residents and about 40 percent of eligible voters. Patiño wants that reflected on city council. “I feel that we should have more representation on City Council that […]

Lawsuit filed over Houston campaign blackout rules

From the inbox: Late Tuesday afternoon, Houston City Council candidate Trebor Gordon filed a First Amendment lawsuit challenging a discriminatory Houston ordinance that prevents city candidates from fundraising until February. Gordon is a conservative candidate for Houston City Council at large. “Houston is a great city because of the entrepreneurial culture of its citizens, among […]

Fifth Circuit to hear HB2 appeal in January

Gird your loins. A federal appeals court has scheduled oral arguments about the constitutionality of Texas’ tough new abortion law for the first week of January, setting up a rapid timeline that may accelerate the case’s expected trip to the U.S. Supreme Court. Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell and lawyers representing abortion providers are planning to […]

Sixth Circuit stands up for inequality

It was bound to happen eventually. Remember the big no-decision decision the Supreme Court issued on same-sex marriage just a month ago? The justices were asked — in five separate cases no less — to weigh in on whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage. The Supreme Court demurred on the question, which […]

Woodfill gets another injunction

WTF? A state district judge on Wednesday ordered the city of Houston to stop offering health and life insurance benefits to the same-sex spouses of married employees, but city attorneys say they plan an immediate appeal that, once filed, could leave the benefits in place. Days after being elected to her third and final term […]

Jared Woodfill sues again

Dude is obsessed. Former Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill isn’t giving up on his fight to block the city of Houston from providing benefits to the same-sex spouses of employees. After Mayor Annise Parker extended benefits to same-sex spouses last year, Woodfill sued on behalf of two Republican taxpayers seeking to halt them. But […]

Another HCC lawsuit

Hard to keep track of them all. The former top attorney and acting chancellor of Houston Community College filed a lawsuit Monday alleging she was fired because she told the FBI of her suspicions that board members sought to use bond funds to award kickbacks. Renee Byas, ousted in August, said in the lawsuit that […]

The Fifth Circuit is in no hurry to rule on same sex marriage

Such a show of courage on their part. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals tentatively has scheduled oral arguments in the Texas and Louisiana gay marriage cases for early January, disappointing local advocates and possibly delaying until 2016 a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court. Texas gay marriage advocates were disappointed with the Monday announcement. […]

The larger issue on voter ID

The Trib reminds us that there are bigger questions that remain to be answered in the voter ID litigation. The litigation on the state’s voting district maps for legislative and congressional elections is still underway, and the treatment of minority voters and their ability to elect the candidates they choose is at the center of […]

What they didn’t tell us about voter ID

Republicans knew fully well that their voter ID bill would disenfranchise a lot of people. They just didn’t care. Republican state officials working to pass a voter photo ID law in 2011 knew that more than 500,000 of the state’s registered voters did not have the credentials needed to cast ballots under the new requirement. […]

It shouldn’t be this hard to get a driver’s license

And for most people it isn’t that hard. But for some people, it is. Daniela Parker has two mothers, a circumstance that turned a typically routine matter – scheduling a road test for a Texas driver’s license – into a lengthy hassle. Parker, Mayor Annise Parker’s daughter, was turned away from taking the road test […]

Suing for same-sex death benefits

Married people receive death benefits when their spouses die. Unless your marriage isn’t recognized as legal by the state you live in. That’s the basis of this lawsuit. An Austin woman filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking to halt the Social Security Administration’s practice of withholding spousal benefits from gay couples who reside in states, […]

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 […]