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No hearing on request to bar refugees till January

So much for that.

A Dallas-based federal judge has denied a request by Texas state officials for an expedited hearing regarding Syrian refugees and will not rule on the case until mid-January at the earliest.

Judge David Godbey informed lawyers involved in the case of his decision in a closed-door conference Monday morning, according to Rebecca Robertson of the ACLU of Texas, which is representing the International Rescue Committee, the nonprofit that, along with the federal government, is being sued by the state.

A case docket posted online indicates the “status conference” lasted 15 minutes.

Robertson said the judge requested more briefs from both sides by Jan. 12 and indicated he would not issue a ruling until after that date.

The judge’s decision should ensure that dozens of Syrian refugees can be resettled in Texas over the next few weeks — including 21 this week — although that already was likely after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last Friday withdrew a motion requesting an emergency order barring refugees.

An amended lawsuit filed by Paxton’s office Monday confirmed that he now is more interested in learning more information about Syrian refugees, rather than blocking them from entering the state. That surprising reversal seems at odds with Gov. Greg Abbott, who has maintained that he opposes Syrian refugees due to security fears inflamed by the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.

See here, here, and here for the background. That change of direction by Paxton is indeed surprising, though at this time I don’t have any other information about it. Change in tactics, genuine philosophical disagreement, something else? Whatever the case, it looks like Greg Abbott’s bluff was successfully called. The Trib and TPM have more.

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  1. […] here for the previous update. Lord only knows what was going through Paxton’s head, but it might […]