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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Voter ID back before the Fifth Circuit

And the worst judge on the Fifth Circuit does her thing. In Texas’ bid to keep its voter identification law intact, it was its legal foes — lawyers representing voting and civil rights groups and individual voters of color — who faced a tougher line of questioning Tuesday before a federal appellate court. In light […]

SCOTUS declines to hear Houston’s appeal of same-sex marriage lawsuit

Disappointing, but nowhere close to the end of the line. Denying the city of Houston’s request, the U.S. Supreme Court will not review a June decision by the Texas Supreme Court, which ruled that the landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage does not fully address the right to marriage benefits. The high court on Monday announced […]

State has not appealed the voting rights case on language interpreters

Interesting. Texas has spent years defending its voting laws in court, regularly appealing rulings that found state lawmakers violated the rights of their voters. So when a federal appellate court in August ruled against the state’s restrictions on language interpreters at the ballot box, it was easy to assume an appeal would follow. But more than three months […]

Sports betting at SCOTUS

A case you might want to watch. Internet gambling in the United States has been limited to just three states since it began in 2013, but it could soon get a big boost from an unlikely source: the U.S. Supreme Court. Some gambling industry officials, regulators and analysts think that a favorable ruling by the […]

Federal court permanently blocks Trump “sanctuary cities” order

Good. A federal judge has permanently blocked President Trump’s efforts to bar cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration forces from receiving funding, the most decisive blow yet to the White House’s efforts to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities. In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick ruled Trump’s January executive […]

Abortion procedure ban struck down

Good news, for now. A federal district judge handed a victory to abortion rights groups Wednesday when he struck down part of a Texas law curbing access to the most common second-trimester abortion procedure, called dilation and evacuation. In a decision that will be appealed before the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Lee […]

The First Amendment remains in effect in Fort Bend

For now, at least. Karen Fonseca, the owner of a white truck at the center of a social media dispute with Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls, is considering a civil rights lawsuit against the sheriff’s office. Fonseca’s attorney, Brian Middleton, made the announcement during a press conference on Monday. Middleton added that the American […]

Harris County sues Arkema

Good. Harris County filed suit Thursday against Arkema over chemical fires at its Crosby plant in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, saying the company violated a long list of environmental, safety and building regulations and put first responders at risk. The lawsuit, filed in state district court, seeks up to $1 million in penalties and […]

Second trimester abortion lawsuit hearings conclude

Now we wait. In a five-day trial that concluded Wednesday, lawyers for the state defended part of a Texas law that bans the most common second-trimester abortion procedure unless the fetus is deceased. Abortion rights groups sued the state in July, arguing the provision restricting the dilation and evacuation procedure imposes an undue burden on […]

SB4 at the Fifth Circuit

Hoping for the best as always, but the Fifth Circuit has a way of stomping on that. Tuesday’s hearing was on whether U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia’s August decision to block several of the law’s provisions should stand while the case meanders through the court system. […] In late August, Garcia halted several parts of the law, […]

Second trimester abortion lawsuit hearings begin

Deja vu all over again. Texas abortion providers argued in court Thursday that it is not medically necessary to require women to undergo injections or other procedures in order to comply with a new state law restricting the most common second-trimester abortion procedure. […] Dr. Mark Nichols, an Oregon-based doctor, called the dilation and evacuation […]

TCDLA pulls Paxton prosecutors brief

Get your act together, y’all. A leading organization of criminal defense lawyers on Tuesday withdrew its legal brief in support of prosecutors who are fighting to get paid for work on the criminal case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The friend-of-the-court brief, which argued that the payment fight could endanger the system for ensuring […]

In support of the Paxton prosecutors

Good to see. In an unusual step, six prosecutors and Texas’ criminal defense attorneys association have joined a continuing legal storm over how much the special prosecutors overseeing the criminal case against Attorney General Ken Paxton should get paid. Preventing the three special prosecutors in Paxton’s case from getting paid would thwart justice, according to […]

Paxton officially appeals redistricting ruling to SCOTUS, part 2

The state House version. Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that ordered nine of Texas’ statehouse districts redrawn after being found discriminatory. In August, a three-judge panel in a federal district court in San Antonio ruled that parts of Texas’ statehouse maps were discriminatory […]

Butterflies versus the wall

Go, butterflies! The National Butterfly Center in South Texas sent a certified letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Wednesday stating its intent to sue over the construction of a border wall on its private property. In July, Marianna Trevino-Wright, executive director of the center, discovered private contractors working for U.S. Customs and Border […]

Paxton wants voter ID lawsuit to be over

I can think of one way he can make that happen. That’s not what he’s asking for, alas. The fight over the state’s embattled voter ID laws should be over, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued in a new court document filed late Tuesday. Paxton, as expected, filed a brief with the U.S. Court of […]

Paxton officially appeals redistricting ruling to SCOTUS

Here we go. Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to take up an appeal of a lower court ruling that invalidated two of Texas’ congressional districts. “It’s fitting that the Supreme Court hear this case, given that it ordered the district court in San Antonio to draw the congressional maps […]

Abbott loses nativity lawsuit

Merry secular Christmas! A federal judge ruled against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision two years ago to remove a mock Nativity display from the Texas Capitol that advocated the separation and church state. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled late Friday that Abbott “violated [the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s] clearly established First Amendment right to […]

Wilson sues HCC

It’s a thing with him. Dave Wilson, a District II trustee, is accusing Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, the board’s vice chair, of improperly voting remotely during a September trustee meeting. Board bylaws say that only trustees present in person can vote, though absent trustees can listen to the proceedings electronically. Wilson’s lawsuit says the meeting in question […]

No expedited appeal of voter ID

There’s no speeding this up. A federal appeals court Tuesday declined to have all 14 judges participate in the appeal over the Texas voter ID law — a decision that will keep the issue unresolved heading into the 2018 elections, one judge said. Civil rights groups, Democrats and minority voters who challenged the voter ID […]

SOS halted from handing over voter info

Good. A Texas district judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos from handing voter information to President Donald Trump’s voter fraud investigation commission. The order, which came out Tuesday, adds Texas to a growing list of states not complying with the president’s investigation into the 2016 elections, which […]

Pasadena City Council approves settlement in redistricting case

It’s over. The Pasadena City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a $1.1 million settlement agreement of a lawsuit challenging a city voting plan that a federal judge found diluted Latino voting influence. Councilman Cody Ray Wheeler said that after four years of litigation and $3.5 million in legal fees he was glad to see […]

SCOTUS takes up partisan gerrymandering

So much coverage on this potentially ground-breaking and earth-shaking case. Here’s the Washington Post: Opponents of political gerrymandering had reason for optimism at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the likely swing vote, appearing more in sync with liberal colleagues who seemed convinced that a legislative map can be so infected […]

Fifth Circuit hears bail lawsuit arguments

Big day in court. Amid a stream of pointed questions from the bench, lawyers for Harris County Tuesday asked panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to toss a lower court ruling that the county’s criminal justice system violated the constitution by holding poor defendants on low level offenses simply because they could […]

Lawsuit filed over untested rape kits

This could be a big deal. A former Houston woman is suing the City of Houston and a long list of current and former mayors and police chiefs for failing to investigate a backlog of more than 6,000 untested rape kits, and not identifying her attacker as a man who had been in a national […]

Pasadena will settle voting rights case

Excellent news. Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner on Friday asked the City Council to settle a voting rights lawsuit that led to national portrayals of the Houston suburb as an example of efforts to suppress Latino voting rights. The proposed settlement with Latino residents who sued the city in 2014 over a new City Council district […]

What should the people living near the dams have known?

More than they were told, is what they’re saying. A federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers claims government officials knew for years that water impounded behind Addicks and Barker dams would flood thousands of suburban homes during an extreme storm – and yet did nothing to advise or compensate property owners. The […]

Harris County files lawsuit against Arkema

More trouble for that nasty and troublesome chemical plant. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday authorized the county attorney to file a lawsuit against Arkema over its struggles to manage stores of hazardous chemicals during Hurricane Harvey. The county’s Pollution Control Services Department found serious violations of the Texas Clean Air Act by Arkema, County […]

Ken Paxton REALLY wants your “sanctuary complaints”

What could possibly go wrong? Texans who suspect their elected or appointed officials of enforcing policies that protect undocumented immigrants can now file an official complaint with the office of the state’s top prosecutor. Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday announced his office is accepting sworn complaints against “sanctuary” jurisdictions that prohibit local police from […]

Don’t expect any further redistricting activity this year

Michael Li explains it all to you. In one-line orders today (here and here), the Supreme Court rejected a request by plaintiffs in the Texas redistricting case that the Supreme Court expedite appeals by the State of Texas. The plaintiffs’ requests would have sped up the cases by having the parties forgo the filing of […]

Fifth Circuit partially unblocks SB4

Terrible. A panel of three appellate judges ruled on Monday that parts of the state’s immigration enforcement legislation, Senate Bill 4, can go into effect while the case plays out on appeal. Last month, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia halted the part of the bill that requires jail officials to honor all detainers. He also […]

Fifth Circuit hears SB4 injunction arguments

Big day in court. The immediate future of Texas’ immigration enforcement law hinges on whether a three-judge panel in New Orleans was swayed Friday by the state’s attorneys that the legislation is essential to public safety and should not have been partially blocked by a federal judge days before it was scheduled to go into effect. Attorneys on both […]

Judgmental

The only bench this guy should be allowed on is a park bench. Jeff Mateer, a high-ranking official in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office who President Donald Trump has nominated for a federal judgeship, said in speeches in 2015 that transgender children are part of “Satan’s plan” and argued same-sex marriage would open the […]

City goes to SCOTUS over same-sex spousal benefits

Good. The City of Houston and Mayor Sylvester Turner filed a petition Friday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision that came down earlier this summer, concluding that states did not have to provide publicly funded benefits to same-sex couples, according to a news release from the city. The decision in Pidgeon v. […]