Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Justice Department’

Bail practices lawsuit update

There was a hearing in court this week, and the judge was skeptical. U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal declined Thursday to rule on whether Harris County should be dismissed from a lawsuit intended to force officials to reform a tough bail system in which more than 70 percent of jail inmates are being held pretrial. […]

No ruling yet in potty lawsuit

We should get one soon, at least as far as the request for an injunction goes. U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor did not issue a ruling from the bench after an almost two-hour long hearing during which state attorneys — as part of a Texas-led, 13-state effort to block the guidelines — argued they […]

Harris County sued over disabled voting access

This ought to be interesting. Harris County, which includes Houston, has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because many of its polling places are inaccessible to voters with disabilities, a new lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice alleges. Many polling places in Harris County, which were surveyed by the justice department during elections […]

Friday was a very good day for voting rights

In North Carolina: The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s opinion in North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. McCrory is nothing short of a beat down. The court does not simply tear apart major provisions of the law, it catches state lawmakers at the center of a conspiracy to disenfranchise […]

Paxton keeps finding new ways to be in trouble

The man has a talent. Ethics experts on Wednesday were torn over whether Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s decision to accept $100,000 for his legal defense from a donor whose company was under investigation by his office violates the letter of the law or the spirit of it. The attorney general’s office argued the donation […]

Can we try this again with nine Justices, please?

Can’t hurt to ask. The Obama administration on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the legality of the president’s controversial immigration enforcement plan, which stalled last month when the high court deadlocked on an appeal. The program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, was announced […]

More opposition to North Carolina’s HB2

The Justice Department seeks to halt implementation of North Carolina’s viciously anti-LGBT law. The billowing legal fight over North Carolina’s House Bill 2 continued to grow this week with the U.S. Department of Justice asking a federal judge to suspend the law pending the outcome of a trial. The federal agency sued the state over […]

Paxton petitions for national injunction against transgender bathroom directive

This guy, I swear. Plunging further into the politics of public school bathrooms, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday expanded his federal lawsuit against an Obama Administration directive instructing schools not to discriminate against transgender students, saying he wants a nationwide injunction stopping the policy and wants it quickly. Because a federal judge’s decision […]

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 […]

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 […]

Paxton sues over Obama directive on transgender bathroom access

A more transparent publicity stunt you would be hard-pressed to find. Texas, joined by 10 other states, filed a lawsuit Wednesday to stop a federal directive instructing school districts to let transgender students use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday. Calling the Obama administration guidelines “outside the […]

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 […]

The Sheriff and Lord High Executioner of Edwards County

In case you haven’t already, you really need to read this: The first thing she noticed was Sheriff Pamela Elliott standing across the street. It was an August evening in 2014, and Rachel Gallegos had just gotten home for a meeting of the Edwards County Democratic Party. The law enforcement official was a highly unlikely […]

Federal action on schools accommodating transgender bathroom use

Glad to see this. The Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. A letter to school districts will go out Friday, adding to a highly charged debate over transgender rights in the […]

Can SCOTUS please intervene in the voter ID case?

The plaintiffs would like to know. Civil rights groups challenging Texas’ voter identification law are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block the measure from being used during the 2016 general election. […] The civil rights groups filed a motion Friday with the Supreme Court asking it to vacate a Fifth Circuit ruling that has […]

Reps. Green and Green want investigation of voting machine shortage

I have three things to say about this. Two Houston congressmen are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether unequal distribution of voting machines and polling locations in Harris County disenfranchised minority voters during the March 1 primary election. In a letter dated March 15, U.S. Reps. Al Green and Gene Green, both […]

Full Fifth Circuit will hear voter ID appeal

Here we go again. The full U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to take up the Texas voter ID case Wednesday, adding another chapter to the law’s convoluted journey through the federal court system. The decision to hear the case, Veasey v. Abbott, en banc comes more than six months after Texas Attorney General […]

Irving ISD sues AG’s office over Ahmed Mohamed

Oh, brother. Ahmed Mohamed’s former school district has sued the Texas Attorney General — defying an order to reveal details of a federal investigation related to the Muslim teen’s arrest after bringing a homemade clock to school last year. Dozens of Democratic U.S. Congress members called for a civil rights investigation of Irving officials last September, after Ahmed was handcuffed […]

State strikes out on Syrian refugees again

Too bad. Now give up already. A federal judge has again denied a bid by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to block the federal government from resettling Syrian refugees in the state. Dallas-based U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey on Monday rejected Paxton’s request for a preliminary injunction to bar the Syrian refugees, dealing another […]

Paxton takes another shot at Syrian refugees

Whatever. In the latest controversy over Syrians seeking refuge in Texas, the state’s top lawyer on Tuesday again asked a federal judge to halt the resettlement of people fleeing the war-torn country. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told a U.S. district judge that the federal government should be temporarily barred from placing Syrian refugees in […]

Two abortion stories

The amicus briefs are being filed in the HB2 case. The Obama administration on Monday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Texas abortion law that has shuttered nearly half the clinics in the state, saying the Republican-backed regulations would harm rather than protect women’s health. […] If allowed to take full effect, […]

Our bail policies are unjust, costly, and stupid

Any questions about how I really feel? “The numbers clearly tell the story: More than three-fourths of the people in Harris County Jail haven’t been convicted of crime, and the majority of them are sitting in jail simply because they can’t afford to get out – not because they’re a threat to public safety,” said […]

More jail troubles

It’s ugly, both in content and in timing for Adrian Garcia. Over the past nine months, the Houston Chronicle has reviewed more than 1,000 disciplinary reports provided by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Nearly half of those internal affairs investigations from 2010 through May 2015 resulted in discipline against jail staff who often brutalize inmates […]

State asks for full Fifth Circuit review of voter ID ruling

As you’d expect them to do. Continuing to protect a voter identification law that courts say discriminates against Hispanics and African Americans, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked a full federal appeals court to hear his arguments about why the state’s requirements at the polls do not violate the Voting Rights Act. In a […]

DOJ asks to get voter ID remedy ASAP

I concur. The Obama administration and several civil rights groups are urging a federal appeals court to fast track the process of temporarily fixing Texas’ voter ID law in time for the upcoming Nov. 3 elections. In court filings Thursday, the Justice Department and civil rights groups asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals […]

Sandra Bland’s death being investigated as a homicide

Doesn’t mean that’s how it will be ruled, but it’s at least a sign that it’s being taken with appropriate seriousness. The probe into Sandra Bland’s hanging death inside a Texas jail — which a medical examiner ruled a suicide last week — now includes the possibility of murder. “This is being treated like a […]

What happened to Sandra Bland?

This is horrible. There are big questions about the final hours of Sandra Bland’s life. The official story is that the 28-year old committed suicide by hanging herself in a Waller County jail cell. Her family doesn’t buy it. Bland, a black woman who graduated from Texas Prairie View A&M and had recently accepted a […]

Ready to engage in the next fight

No rest for the righteous. On Monday, national and state gay rights leaders and the plaintiffs who sued for marriage equality convened in front of the Texas Capitol to make a different kind of vow: The fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is not over. The next frontier, they said, is pushing for […]

That other big SCOTUS case from yesterday

Another nice surprise from the mercurial Supreme Court. A sharply divided Supreme Court on Thursday preserved a key tool used for more than four decades to fight housing discrimination, handing a surprising victory to the Obama administration and civil rights activists. The justices ruled 5-4 that federal housing law allows people to challenge lending rules, […]

Possibly positive sign from the Fifth Circuit on immigration lawsuit appeal

From ThinkProgress: A string of bad luck for immigrants — and for the Obama Administration — might be coming to an end. On Thursday, a federal appeals court indicated that it is not bound by a previous decision that would make it very difficult for the administration to prevail in litigation challenging its immigration policies […]

Fifth Circuit hears request to lift immigration injunction order

Always best to temper one’s expectations with these guys. An argument from U. S. Department of Justice lawyers that the state of Texas doesn’t have standing to challenge the Obama administration’s controversial immigration policy met with resistance from a pair of federal appellate judges Friday. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals […]

Eversole to seek Presidential pardon

For real. Three years after pleading guilty to lying to FBI agents and resigning his post as a Harris County commissioner to avoid further prosecution, Jerry Eversole is seeking a presidential pardon for his misdeeds. In a letter sent to at least one of his supporters, lawyers for the disgraced Pct. 4 commissioner are asking […]