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Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

The enduring mystery of Lawrence Meyers

People are still speculating about why the enigmatic CCA Judge switched parties. Lawrence “Larry” Meyers did something last year that no other politician in Texas has done in nearly two decades: He became a statewide Democratic officeholder. As Democrats gather in Dallas this week for their state convention, Meyers — a Court of Criminal Appeals […]

Motion to recuse Judge Dietz denied

Good. State District Judge John Dietz will not be forced off Texas’ ongoing school finance case, a San Antonio judge ruled Monday, handing a victory to school districts suing the state over what they call an unconstitutional lack of adequate funding for public education. Earlier this month, Attorney General Greg Abbott sought to have Dietz […]

On defining success

It depends on what your goals are. Suppose you were a Texas Democrat and a realist. You want your candidates to win in November and to break the spirit-killing string of losses that started after the statewide elections in 1994. But you have been scratching for reasons that this year will be different, from the […]

Supreme Court denies Burnam mandamus request

Late Friday I got an email from the Ramon Romero campaign touting the news that the State Supreme Court had denied a write of mandamus to Rep. Lon Burnam in his electoral challenge lawsuit. You can see the Supreme Court’s order here – scroll down to case 14-0372, the third one listed under “Miscellaneous”. See […]

Where are all the ladies?

Christy Hoppe of the DMN notices something missing on the Republican side of the 2014 ballot. The Texas Republican Party has a girl problem. A glance down the list of GOP nominees set after Tuesday’s runoffs makes it look as if U.S. Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth has signed up for shop class. She […]

Burnam loses appeal in election contest

Another setback. A local appeals court will not require Tarrant County election officials to release all applications for mail-in ballots received for this year’s race for House District 90. State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, who has represented House District 90 for nearly two decades, asked to review the paperwork because he believed it would […]

It was a bad week for the strip clubs

Another adverse court ruling. A state appeals court on Friday upheld the legality of the state’s so-called “pole tax” on nude entertainment clubs, the latest decision in a six-year battle by Texas officials to collect the $5-per-customer fee from more than 200 strip clubs. In a 16-page decision, the 3rd Court of Appeals overruled a […]

More on Abbott and Duntsch

The Observer follows up its earlier reporting on disastrous doctor Christopher Duntsch and the efforts of Greg Abbott to ensure he is never held accountable for his actions. When I wrote about Duntsch last August, there were quite a few unanswered questions. Chief among them: Why did he do it? Was he a sociopath? A […]

Combs tells strip clubs to pay up

Interesting. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs is pressing the state’s strip clubs to cough up millions of dollars she says they owe under a new “pole tax” even though the $5-a-patron fee still faces a court challenge. “Any claim that ongoing litigation is a basis for nonpayment of the Sexually Oriented Business Fee is not valid,” […]

State court rules gay marriage ban is unconstitutional

That’s two rulings in Texas, with this one referencing the federal ruling from February. In a move that follows suit with a federal ruling issued in February, a state district judge has deemed Texas’ restrictions on same-sex marriage unconstitutional – paving the way for a San Antonio couple’s divorce proceedings and subsequent child custody battle […]

Wallace Jefferson is still going on about judicial elections

In an interview in The Atlantic, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson rides his favorite hobbyhorse of partisan judicial elections. I’ve been talking about this for a long time. And I am not the first one. Republican or Democrat Chief Justices for the last 30 or 40 years have been calling on the legislature […]

Another same sex divorce case

In Bexar County. And with it comes another opportunity for Greg Abbott to demonstrate his commitment to non-equality. The Bexar divorce case was filed Feb. 18, eight days before U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex unions and its refusal to recognize out-of-state marriages are unconstitutional. The judge stayed his […]

On Abbott and empathy

On Sunday, the DMN had this long piece about Greg Abbott’s longstanding hostility to claims made under the Americans with Disabilities Act, even though he himself had benefited from it. Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has said he supports the Americans with Disabilities Act, has tenaciously battled to block the courthouse door to disabled Texans […]

School finance retrial wraps

We’re back where it all began. The Texas Legislature failed to bridge funding gaps between wealthy and poor school districts despite partial restoration of funds that were cut, lawyers representing schools told a state district judge Friday. “They have put a Band-aid on a Band-aid on a Band-aid,” said Rick Gray, attorney for the Texas […]

January finance reports for Democratic statewide candidates

With the exception of a stray missing report here and there, all of the January campaign finance reports for state office holders and seekers are up on the Texas Ethics Commission webpage. Here’s a brief look at the reports filed by Democratic candidates for statewide offices. I already have reports for the candidates in contested […]

What is the sound of one politician switching?

It depends. When Lawrence Meyers won a seat on the statewide Court of Criminal Appeals in 1992, he was the first Republican elected to the state’s highest criminal court. This month he made history again. After switching parties, Meyers, who had been a judge in Fort Worth, became the first Democrat to hold statewide office […]

School finance trial do-over set to start soon

Once more into the breach. Hundreds of school districts in North Texas and across the state will resume their courtroom battle over funding in January, arguing that new money and reduced testing did little to fix Texas’ school finance system. State and legislative leaders contend changes they approved this year have blunted the districts’ arguments. […]

Ashby plaintiffs score a win

Most of them, anyway. A Harris County jury sided with residents of a neighborhood near Rice University and awarded some of them damages totaling close to $1.7 million in their fight to keep developers from building a 21-story high-rise in their midst. The jury’s unanimous verdict Tuesday ended the month-long trial over a lawsuit filed […]

More primary thoughts

I wonder if Big John Cornyn will come to rue this interview. BDS: At the kickoff for your reelection campaign in November, Governor Perry said that you are “the epitome of what I look for in a U.S. senator.” He has certainly been embraced by members of the tea party. But in your speech you […]

The oldest established permanent floating ethics probe in the state

The Chief Justice of our State Supreme Court, ladies and gentlemen. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, already the longest-serving member of the state’s highest civil court, has the dubious distinction of owning another record: the longest running appeal of a state ethics fine. With the case dragging into its fifth year, watchdog groups […]

Final filings: We have a statewide Democrat

Boy, I didn’t see this coming. Longtime Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Lawrence “Larry” Meyers announced Monday that he is leaving the Republican Party to run as a Democrat for the Texas Supreme Court. Meyers, of Fort Worth, filed Monday on the last day of filing to seek Place 6 on the Supreme Court, […]

Susan Criss to file in HD23

Some excellent news from the inbox, via Carl Whitmarsh: For fifteen years I was honored to wear a black robe for the people of Galveston County. Four times I raised my hand and swore, so help me God, to faithfully execute the duties of the office of the 212th District Court of Galveston County, Texas […]

Will Texas wind up advancing the cause of same sex marriage?

Not voluntarily, of course, but it could happen. One couple wants to get married, while the other just wants theirs recognized. A third couple wants a divorce, while the fourth wants theirs finalized. If all win their lawsuits, they could overturn the Texas ban on same-sex marriage. A federal court in San Antonio will hear […]

Texas Supreme Court hears gay divorce case

Seems like a slam dunk to me, but who knows what our Supreme Court will do. Two same-sex couples who were legally married in Massachusetts urged the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to allow them to get divorced in Texas. But a lawyer for Attorney General Greg Abbott said allowing same-sex couples to divorce would […]

2014 Democratic lineup updates

In honor of Peggy Fikac, an update on who is running for what as a Democrat in 2014. Starting at the top, folks who attended the HCDP Johnson-Rayburn-Richards event on Saturday had the opportunity to meet Maxey Scherr, a 33-year-old attorney from El Paso who will be filing to run for Senate against John Cornyn. […]

Kinky for Ag Commish, Sam Houston (maybe) for AG

One and a half candidate announcements to note from the weekend. First, from the Trib, is the quadrennial appearance of Kinky Friedman. Singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist and former Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman will run for the Democratic nomination to be the state’s next agriculture commissioner. A formal announcement is expected on Monday. This will […]

School finance trial still moving ahead

Ready or not, here it comes again. A Travis County District Judge has decided to move forward with the state’s school finance trial despite some wavering about re-opening the case. Earlier this month Travis County District Judge John Dietz revisited an order to re-open the case, which takes a look at if the state is […]

The state’s head in the sand legal strategy

Slate and its invaluable legal writer Dahlia Lithwick take a look at the state of Texas’ determination to ensure that gay married couples stay gay married in Texas. On Nov. 5 the Supreme Court of Texas will hear arguments regarding whether the men’s constitutional rights are violated by not granting them a divorce. J.B. and […]

Wallace Jefferson to resign

This is his last month. Wallace Jefferson, the first African-American to be chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court and one of the most respected jurists in the nation, is resigning his position effective Oct. 1. In an interview Monday, Jefferson said that he informed Gov. Rick Perry of his decision last week and that […]

Texas Supreme Court to hear gay divorce case

That sound you hear is a big can of worms being opened. The Texas Supreme Court announced Friday that it will determine whether same-sex couples, legally married in other states, can be granted a divorce in Texas. The cases, involving couples from Austin and Dallas, will be the first test of Texas’ ban on same-sex […]

More on Abbott and his lawsuit settlement

I have three things to say about this. When Greg Abbott’s spine was crushed by a falling oak tree in 1984 he had no health insurance, no paycheck and no feeling in his legs. But he had a good lawyer and, back then, access to a civil justice system that was generally hospitable toward plaintiffs. […]

Clock strikes midnight for North Forest

This was a tough blow for NFISD. North Forest school officials lost one of their final court battles Wednesday, making the district’s state-ordered merger into HISD five days from now increasingly likely. U.S. District Judge David Hittner rejected the last-ditch claims by North Forest that the school system’s takeover by the Houston Independent School District […]

Back to court for the school finance lawsuit

Like deja vu all over again. State district court Judge John Dietz likened the state’s school finance case to the soap opera As The World Turns when he opened Wednesday’s hearing on whether to reconsider evidence in the trial that concluded in February. He drew the comparison not because of the trial’s drama but because […]

So where does the school finance lawsuit stand?

Though Judge John Dietz issued a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in the school finance lawsuit back in February, he still hasn’t written his full decision yet. That’s because he wanted to see what the Legislature did this session, so he could take it into account in his opinion. Well, the session is over […]