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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Texas cannot bar Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

Good. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled Tuesday afternoon that Texas clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood can continue to care for patients under the state’s Medicaid program, a phew-worthy victory for reproductive rights advocates and a loss for the state’s GOP leaders. In a 42-page ruling, Sparks wrote that the state’s arguments in the case […]

Uptown lawsuit filed

I suppose we should have expected something like this. The city’s Uptown Development Authority and the economic development zone that feeds it were created in violation of the Texas Constitution, two critics allege in a lawsuit that seeks to void all resulting actions and block Uptown from collecting or spending another dime. The Galleria-area agency’s […]

The legal case against the “sanctuary cities” bill

Ken Paxton says that the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill meets legal muster, and the state won’t get sued to smithereens if it passes. Not all lawyers agree with that. The office of the Texas Attorney General can no better predict when the Dallas Cowboys will win the Super Bowl than it can how an appeals […]

AG’s office sanctioned in voter registration lawsuit

They were warned. A federal judge has ordered sanctions against the state of Texas for blowing past deadlines and ignoring a court order to hand over thousands of pages of documents in a lawsuit challenging its voter registration practices. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office’s “months-long delay” in producing the documents “has been disruptive, time […]

Paxton files brief in favor of Muslim ban

Because of course he does. Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an amicus brief Wednesday expressing his support of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, effectively becoming the first state attorney general to back the controversial executive order. Under the executive order, travelers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya are barred from entering the […]

Pasadena won’t fight election order

The May election in Pasadena will proceed under the pre-redistricting eight-district Council map. The city of Pasadena will not fight an appellate court ruling over its election system, a decision that will allow the upcoming May council elections to proceed with eight-single member district seats, according to the lead attorney for the city in the […]

Harris County really needs to settle that bail practices lawsuit

Enough already. Two Houston-based lawmakers called on Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan Friday to dismiss an attorney hired to represent county judges in a federal civil rights lawsuit, after that attorney claimed in a hearing that many people jailed in Harris County were there by choice – not because they could not afford to post […]

Trump Justice Department to drop appeals in transgender bathroom directive case

From ThinkProgress: The Trump administration has elected not to contest a Texas federal judge’s injunction barring the federal government from implementing Obama administration guidelines that protect transgender kids in schools. Oral arguments for the Obama Justice Department’s appeal of the judge’s decision were scheduled for Tuesday. The DOJ cancelled them in a legal brief submitted […]

ReBuild re-vote?

It could come to that, but it’s not clear to me that it has to. The funding scheme for ReBuild Houston, the city’s street and drainage repair initiative, remains in limbo after a state appeals court agreed Thursday that the 2010 charter referendum creating the program is void. The Texas 14th Court of Appeals ruling […]

Supreme Court hears TDP-KSP appeal

Here‘s a little blast from the past. A meandering legal dispute between Texas Democrats and a Houston tea party group has landed before the Texas Supreme Court in a case that could overturn longtime election laws that require certain political committees to disclose donors and ban direct political contributions from corporations. Arguing before the court […]

Fifth Circuit upholds Pasadena election order

Good. The Pasadena election system that a judge ruled violated the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against Hispanics cannot be used in the upcoming May council elections, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by a lower court judge ordering the city to revert to a […]

Fifth Circuit hears Pasadena redistricting appeal

This is to decide whether to lift or leave in place Judge Lee Rosenthal’s ruling that the pre-2013 all-single-member-district Council map will be in place for the May elections in Pasadena. The City of Pasadena asked for the expedited hearing before the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a narrow issue – the structure […]

Paxton prosecutor pay suspended

Whiplash! Collin County must immediately stop paying the three lawyers prosecuting Ken Paxton’s criminal fraud case, a Dallas court has said. The 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas on Monday temporarily halted the payments — the result of a lawsuit filed against the county and prosecutors by a local taxpayer — and will consider a […]

Look for the helpers

They’re at the airports now. Luis Ruiz, an immigration attorney with his own practice, set up shop early Sunday at Bush Intercontinental Airport. He’d seen news of attorneys around the country flocking to airports to help people detained under the terms of the executive order President Donald Trump issued Friday, and he figured duty called. […]

State fails to respond to voter registration lawsuit

Here’s an update on a different voting rights lawsuit from last year. Civil rights lawyers suing Texas over its voter registration practices are asking a federal judge to sanction the state for allegedly blowing past deadlines and ignoring a court order to hand over thousands of pages of documents related to the case. The Texas […]

Interview with Jose Garza

So it’s been a busy couple of weeks for the voter ID litigation. There was the motion by the Justice Department to delay the hearing on whether the law was passed with discriminatory intent, which everyone expects is a prelude to them switching sides in the case. Then there was the decision by the Supreme […]

Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi

This is who the now-injuncted executive order suspending refugee resettlement and immigration visas from certain countries was supposed to “protect” us from. The lawyers said that one of the Iraqis detained at Kennedy Airport, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years. The other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq […]

“Fetal remains” rule blocked

Good. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks ruled Texas cannot require health providers to bury or cremate fetuses, delivering another blow to state leaders in the reproductive rights debate. On Friday afternoon, Sparks wrote in his ruling that Texas Department of State Health Services’ fetal remains burial rule’s vagueness, undue burden and potential for irreparable […]

So what will the Justice Department do with voter ID now?

We don’t know yet. Hours after President Donald Trump was inaugurated, the Department of Justice filed to postpone a hearing on the Texas Voter ID law. The request was granted. The DOJ had previously argued that the law intentionally discriminated against minority voters, but told the court it needed additional time for the new administration […]

Pasadena appellate hearing set

Mark your calendars. With deadlines looming for the upcoming May elections, a federal appeals court has agreed to hear arguments Feb. 1 in a voting rights lawsuit that overturned the Pasadena election system. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider whether to temporarily halt the order from the Houston judge until after the […]

SCOTUS will not review voter ID ruling

For now. The Supreme Court issued orders from its January 19 conference this morning. After granting review in two cases from that conference last week, the justices did not add any new cases to their merits docket today. But there was one notable denial on today’s order list: Abbott v. Veasey, the challenge to a […]

Appeals court tosses Paxton prosecutor payment lawsuit again

Round and round we go. The three lawyers prosecuting Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton can continue to get paid, at least for now, a Dallas appeals court decided this week. For more than a year, local real estate developer Jeffory Blackard has waged a legal battle to keep the prosecutors from getting paid. Blackard alleges […]

Voter ID hearing postponed

I fear this is a portent of things to come. Within hours of Donald Trump being sworn in as president Friday, a Corpus Christi federal court postponed a scheduled hearing in the Texas Voter ID case until next month at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice. Lawyers for the Justice department asked for […]

State Supreme Court will take up same sex marriage appeal

Somehow, this wasn’t the worst thing that happened yesterday. After pressure from Texas GOP leadership, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court on Friday reversed course and agreed to take up a same-sex marriage case. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, the state’s highest civil court will reconsider a Houston case challenging […]

One for the road

How about one last lawsuit against the federal government, for old times’ sake? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday announced he, along with 13 other mostly Republican-led states, would sue the federal government yet again to block a recently finalized federal rule limiting coal mining near waterways. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and […]

Planned Parenthood still in Medicaid

For now, pending judgment. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks on Thursday delayed Planned Parenthood’s ouster from the state’s Medicaid program until Feb. 21. […] During closing arguments Thursday hearing, attorneys from both sides cited clips from the video. Sparks said he wanted all involved to review the video footage and present their findings to […]

Judge affirms Pasadena redistricting order

Back to the previous map, pending appeal. Hours after candidates began filing paperwork to run for city office, a federal judge Wednesday denied a request by Pasadena officials to delay her order that the city election be run under an 2011 election scheme to protect the rights of Latino voters. Chief U.S. District Judge Lee […]

Here we go again with Planned Parenthood and Medicaid

Rooting for another injunction. Texas officials are back in federal court this week over abortion-related policy, this time to defend efforts to oust Planned Parenthood from Medicaid. Planned Parenthood has asked U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks to block the ouster as illegal, unjustified and unfair — an improperly political move that could deprive about 11,000 […]

Pasadena will appeal redistricting ruling

Not a surprise. An attorney representing the city of Pasadena said Tuesday the city will appeal a ruling that found Pasadena deliberately violated the voting rights of its Hispanic population, a move that could have immediate consequences for the city’s upcoming May elections. The attorney, C. Robert Heath, said the city disagreed with Chief U.S. […]

Final ruling in Pasadena redistricting lawsuit

It’s official – back to the original map. With candidate registration set to begin Tuesday, a federal judge Monday prohibited the city of Pasadena from using an unconstitutional redistricting scheme in the upcoming May elections, stating that the scheme violated the voting rights of Latino and Hispanic residents. Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal in […]

City loses appeal of procedural argument in term limits lawsuit

Stay with me, because this is going to take a bit of explaining. A state appeals court on Thursday rejected the city’s procedural challenge to a lawsuit that could force Houston’s mayor and city council members to revert to three two-year terms, from the two four-year terms voters approved in November 2015. The Texas First […]

Feds officially file appeal in transgender bathroom directive lawsuit

This may be the last stop. With two weeks left, the Obama administration has asked a federal appeals court to throw out a lower court’s decision that suspended policies designed to protect transgender people’s access to restrooms — a sign the current leadership of the Justice Department will close shop mid-fight on one of its […]

Judge rules for Pasadena plaintiffs

Wow. A federal judge in Houston dealt a major blow Friday to the city of Pasadena in a closely watched voting rights case, ruling that officials deliberately diluted the clout of Hispanic voters by revising the system for electing City Council members. Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordered Pasadena to revert to its […]

Effort to expedite redistricting ruling denied

From the Lone Star Project: Earlier today, Federal District Court Judge Xavier Rodriguez denied the motion filed by the Texas congressional and State House redistricting plaintiffs calling on the three-judge federal district court in San Antonio to rule on the pending redistricting case.  Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle released the following statement: “While we […]