Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘lawsuit’

Harris County Attorney files amicus brief in SB4 lawsuit

Good. Last week, Harris County Commissioners Court opted not to join a lawsuit challenging the state’s controversial “sanctuary cities” law as unconstitutional. Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, however, has filed a brief asking a federal court to halt its implementation on Sept. 1. “S.B. 4 will do irreparable damage to this State’s child welfare process, […]

Firefighters turn in their petitions

Good for them, but boy is this thing a train wreck. Houston firefighters delivered over 32,000 signatures to City Hall Monday in support of putting a ballot initiative on the November election mandating parity in pay between firefighter and police-officer ranks. […] “This petition drive was necessary because Houston firefighters are at a breaking point,” […]

Let a thousand hypothetical alternative Texas Congressional maps bloom

Stephen Wolf of Daily Kos Elections takes a crack at drawing a remedial Congressional map for Texas. Just how effective is GOP gerrymandering in Texas, and what might a redrawn map look like in 2018 as a consequence of a favorable court ruling? To answer these questions, we’ll analyze a hypothetical fully nonpartisan congressional map below as part […]

Redistricting trial wraps up

Now we wait. The state of Texas faced a healthy dose of judicial skepticism on Saturday as its lawyers laid out final arguments in a trial over whether lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minority voters in enacting current Texas House and Congressional district maps. A three-judge panel peppered lawyers from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office […]

The broader implications of the Pasadena voting rights lawsuit

Buried in this Trib story about the ongoing saga of Pasadena’s voting rights lawsuit is this nugget about the state getting involved. The case could reverberate beyond Pasadena’s city limits. Legal experts contend that a decision by the 5th Circuit could guide other courts around the country that are considering similar voting rights cases. The Pasadena ruling also has […]

Redistricting trial update: Invoking privilege

Interesting choice. Texas’ defense of its electoral maps suffered a setback Friday when a state witness couldn’t defend lawmakers’ intentions for much of his testimony. […] Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, was the chairman of the House Select Committee on Redistricting in 2013. He invoked legislative privilege for more than 20 minutes Friday during the […]

Still a few bugs in the system

A continuing story. While Harris County officials are complaining that a federal judge’s bail order threatens public safety, the county has failed to provide more than 100 low-level defendants with pretrial services aimed at ensuring they make their court dates. The latest revelations come amid criticism from District Attorney Kim Ogg, who accused county officials […]

Redistricting update: It’s all about the emails

Two days into the trial, and there’s more drama. Plaintiffs challenging Texas’ 2013 redistricting maps Tuesday accused the state of improperly delaying the release of thousands of pages of documents from them, including 113 documents that state lawyers refuse to hand over because they say they are privileged. The spat may further delay a conclusion […]

Harris County will not enter SB4 litigation

Unfortunate. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday decided not to join a lawsuit against the state’s controversial sanctuary cities law. A motion made by Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis to move to join the lawsuit died after it failed to receive a second by another court member. The move comes as pressure had been building […]

Redistricting trial week begins

This will be the main event of the week. Eight months ahead of the 2018 primaries, Texas and its legal foes on Monday will kick off a week-long trial that could shake up races across the state. The state and minority rights groups have been squabbling for six years over new political district boundaries drawn […]

Who gets the VW settlement money?

That’s the fifty million dollar question. Volkswagen faces billions of dollars in fines in Texas for its admitted cheating on emissions tests, but the potential payday is being held up as the state Attorney General and county officials fight in court over which government agencies will get to claim a share of the proceeds from […]

Anti-spousal benefits plaintiffs ask for injunction

Ridiculous. Conservative activists are seeking an injunction blocking Houston from paying same-sex spousal benefits to its municipal employees, after Texas’ Supreme Court ruled last week that gay couples may not be entitled to them. Attorneys filed a motion Friday in District Court in Harris County, which includes Houston. They also want to recover public funds […]

Campus carry lawsuit tossed

No surprise. A federal judge has dismissed a longshot lawsuit filed by three University of Texas at Austin professors seeking to overturn the state’s 2015 campus carry law, which allows people to carry concealed handguns inside most public university buildings. District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in his decision that the professors — Jennifer Lynn Glass, […]

Trump DOJ says all is swell with voter ID now

Of course they do. Texas’ new voter identification law fully absolves the state from discriminating against minority voters in 2011, and courts should not take further action in a battle over the state’s old voter ID law, President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice argued in a legal filing Wednesday. “Texas’s voter ID law both guarantees to […]

County’s new bail system not quite ready

Real soon now. Harris County’s long-trumpeted new system for setting bail for people awaiting trial will be up and running by the end of July, nearly a month later than the July 1 effective date the county had promised a federal judge, officials said Monday. The new approach won a green light late Friday from […]

Firefighters’ lawsuit over pension reform law tossed

There it goes. A state district judge on Friday dismissed Houston firefighters’ lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the city’s pension reform package, removing a potential barrier to the city’s efforts to solve a 16-year fiscal crisis. State District Judge Patricia Kerrigan granted the city’s request to dismiss the case while denying firefighters’ motion to temporarily […]

Uber drivers sue over employment status

This will be worth watching. Lawyers for 19 Texas drivers for Uber on Friday filed a federal class-action lawsuit in Houston, claiming the ride-hailing app company’s oversight and control of supposedly independent drivers is so pervasive, they should be considered employees. If successful, the lawsuit could mean the thousands of local drivers for the company […]

First Paxton trial hearing in Harris County

Not much happened, but there are some big questions to address. The securities fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton kicked off Thursday in Harris County with no new trial date being set. Instead, the new judge in the case, Robert Johnson, asked both sides to come back July 27 to continue discussing a […]

City responds to term limits mandamus

Here’s what the city had to say in response to the request that the Supreme Court vacate the district court ruling that let the 2015 term limits referendum stand and order an election for this November: In an unusually blunt response filed last week, city attorneys accused plaintiffs’ attorney Eric Dick of an “unrelenting bum’s […]

Supreme Court sends same-sex marriage benefits question back to lower court

Unbelievable. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday threw out a lower court ruling that said spouses of gay and lesbian public employees are entitled to government-subsidized same-sex marriage benefits. The state’s highest civil court ordered a trial court to reconsider the case. As part of a case challenging Houston’s benefits policy, the Supreme Court suggested […]

Hearing for that other SB4 lawsuit

The SB4 lawsuit that Ken Paxton filed, to get the law pre-emptively declared to be constitutional, had its hearing in Austin on Thursday. A federal judge on Thursday criticized the politics surrounding Texas’ new immigration-enforcement law and hinted that he’d be unable to take the case over from his colleague in Bexar County. U.S. District […]

Firefighters sue city over contract negotiations

These are busy days for the HPFFA. Houston’s fire union sued the city Wednesday alleging Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration failed to act in good faith during contract negotiations, exacerbating tensions between firefighters and City Hall. The lawsuit filed in state district court came just two days before firefighters’ “evergreen” labor agreement with the city expires, […]

City of El Paso joins in on SB4

Add one more to the list. The city of El Paso voted on Tuesday to join the growing list of local governments that have filed a legal challenge in hopes of stopping Texas’ new immigration enforcement law from going into effect. The city council’s vote to join El Paso County and the cities of Dallas, […]

State to help defend county bail policies

Of course it will. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the top lawyers in five other states are backing Harris County in its protracted battle over money bail for poor low-level defendants, as the tally of those released on no-cash bail nears 1,000. Paxton and the lead attorneys in Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana and Nebraska […]

Ellis seeks Harris County entry into SB4 litigation

From the inbox, an email from Commissioner Ellis: Despite strong opposition from law enforcement officials, faith leaders, local governments, civil rights organizations, constituents, and advocacy groups, Senate Bill 4 (SB4), the “show-me-your-papers” legislation, has been signed into law. The new legislation unfairly targets immigrant families, allows state-sanctioned racial profiling, and violates rights to due process. […]

Another look at redistricting in Texas

We’re in the spotlight right now. The odd shapes tell the story. A huge Republican majority in the Houston-area 2nd congressional district represented by Ted Poe curls around the region from Lake Houston, northeast of the city, makes a meandering, snakelike loop out to the western suburbs, and ends south of downtown near Loop 610. […]

SB4’s day in court

Sparks were flying. Opponents of Texas’ state-based immigration law told a federal judge Monday that allowing the controversial measure to stand would pave the way for a nationwide police state where local officers could subvert the established immigration-enforcement powers of the federal government. But the state’s attorneys argued in tandem with their colleagues from the […]

Ellis shakes things up

Good. It’s what he should be doing. When former state Sen. Rodney Ellis launched his campaign to succeed the late El Franco Lee as Precinct 1 commissioner last year, he said he would shake up Harris County government. He’s kept his promise. Not even three months into his tenure, Ellis filed court papers siding against […]

Next round of voter ID briefs ordered

Moving right along: With the next election season looming, a federal judge has set a fast-paced schedule for determining whether Texas should be penalized for a voter ID law found to have been written by Republicans to intentionally discriminate against minority voters. Saying no additional hearings will be needed, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos gave […]

Texas Central survives the session

It looked bad for awhile there. but in the end no significant bill that would have obstructed the high speed rail line was passed. In the recent Legislature, over 20 bills were filed that took aim at a high-speed rail project between Dallas and Houston, including some that may have killed the plan. Ultimately, just […]

What about Fort Worth?

Now that Houston has voted to join the litigation against SB4, there remains one big city on the sidelines. Holding signs that said, “No hate in my Texas” and “Diversity not division,” protesters on Tuesday urged city leaders to join a lawsuit seeking to have Texas’ so-called sanctuary cities law declared unconstitutional. Members of the […]

No partisan gerrymandering claims (yet) in Texas

From Texas Redistricting: The three-judge panel in the Texas redistricting case has issued an order striking the expert report offered by the Texas Democratic Party in connection with its partisan gerrymandering claim. However, the court said that it would allow the TDP to make an offer of proof under Federal Rule of Evidence 103 so […]

Feds join the state in defense of SB4

I suppose this was to be expected. About a month ago, the city of El Cenizo filed a lawsuit against the state, calling the bill unconstitutional. On Monday, the Trump administration got involved. The defendants in the lawsuit are the state of Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The fight started […]

One Republican judge doesn’t want that high-priced attorney for the bail lawsuit appeal

Credit where credit is due. One of 15 Harris County judges challenging a federal order altering how bail works for indigent defendants has dropped out of the group that hired a pricey D.C. law firm to appeal the lawsuit. Court at Law Judge Mike Fields, a Republican who has been on the bench since 1998, […]