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Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

The Trump effect and the State Supreme Court

The Trib touches on a subject I addressed awhile ago. Three Republican members of the Texas Supreme Court running for re-election are facing Democratic challengers who say they may have a chance in the solid-red state with Donald Trump at the top of the ballot. Democrats point to recent polls that show Trump beating Hillary […]

Republicans join Woodfill’s ridiculous anti-spousal benefits crusade

Shoveling sand against the tide. Fifty Republican members of the Texas Legislature have signed a court brief arguing that the same-sex spouses of government employees shouldn’t be entitled to health insurance and other benefits. The “friend-of-the-court” brief was submitted Friday in a lawsuit brought by anti-LGBT activists against the city of Houston in response to […]

Endorsement watch: More courts

The Chron has a bunch of judicial race endorsements to make, beginning with the First and 14th Courts of Appeals. 1st Court of Appeals, Chief Justice: Sherry Radack Both Republican incumbent Sherry Radack and challenger Jim Peacock strongly agree that service on this bench constitutes a great honor. That honor should go to Radack, 65, […]

Jared Woodfill never stops never stopping

Here we go again. Fifteen months after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, anti-LGBT groups in Texas are still fighting the decision. Jonathan Saenz, president of the right-wing lobby group Texas Values, and Houston anti-LGBT activist Jared Woodfill announced Tuesday that they’re again asking the Texas Supreme Court to […]

Judicial Q&A: Justice Dori Contreras Garza

(Note: I ran a series of judicial Q&As for Democratic candidates in contested primaries earlier this year. I am now doing the same for the candidates who were unopposed in March, which includes most of the sitting incumbent judges. As always, this is to help you the voter know a little bit more about the […]

State Supreme Court declines to hear lawsuit over city’s same-sex partner benefits

I had totally forgotten this was still a thing that was happening. The Texas Supreme Court has declined to hear a case challenging Houston’s extension of health and life-insurance benefits to same-sex spouses of married employees, calling an apparent end to three years of legal battles over the policy change. Houston began offering employment benefits […]

What can we do to increase the odds of a downballot Democratic victory?

Yesterday, I raised the possibility of downballot Democrats winning statewide races if 1) polling in the Trump/Clinton matchup remained at or below the six point spread in the recent PPP poll and 2) Democrats did a better job voting all the way down the ballot than Republicans, as has been the case in recent Presidential […]

It’s not crazy to think that a downballot Democrat could win statewide this year

I’ll get to that headline in a minute. I’ve got some reading to sort through first. We’ll start with the most pessimistic, or perhaps the least blue-sky, story of how things are likely to go. Arizona. Georgia. Utah. Indiana. Is Texas next? Across the country in recent days, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has suffered […]

Senate whinefest about ballot propositions

Spare me. Members of a state Senate committee called Monday for changes in Texas law to prevent cities from thwarting or blocking citizen petition drives, a key issue for conservative and tea party groups in Houston and other cities in recent years. At a meeting of the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee, members made it clear […]

School finance can always get worse

Now here’s a brilliant, why-didn’t-we-think-of-that-before idea: Give schools less money as incentive to do better. Depending on whose measure you’re using, Texas is somewhere between 38th and 49th in the nation when it comes to per-student funding. Instead of wallowing in our poor luck, or paying something closer to the national average, Senate Education Chairman […]

Paxton sues Austin over open carry

No subtext at all to this, I’m sure. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the city of Austin in Travis County district court, trying to force the city to comply with his reading of the state’s open carry law and allow license holders to openly carry handguns in city hall. After the open carry […]

Media covers latest voting rights lawsuit

Glad they finally noticed. A group of Hispanic voters has filed a lawsuit challenging how Texas selects judges to its top two courts, arguing that statewide elections for the state Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals dilutes the voting strength of minorities. The suit is the latest to allege the state’s election structure […]

Voting rights lawsuit filed over Texas statewide judicial elections

This happened on the same day as the Fifth Circuit ruling on voter ID. [Wednesday], the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), Garza Golando Moran, PLLC, and Dechert LLP filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on behalf of individual Latino voters alleging that the […]

What next for Julian Castro?

I can think of something for him to do. Housing Secretary Julián Castro was long touted as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton, but when the call came Friday informing him that the presumptive Democratic nominee had picked someone else, he wasn’t entirely surprised. “It’s disappointing, of course,” Castro said in a telephone interview […]

The Observer talks to now-retired Judge John Dietz about school finance reform

A brief taste: One really important point, which was certainly not addressed [by the Supreme Court]: With economically disadvantaged students, the undisputed testimony is that if you didn’t grow up economically disadvantaged, when you arrived at school you had roughly a 1,500-word vocabulary and understood probably another 1,000 words. An economically disadvantaged child shows up […]

Our tax system isn’t quite as stupid as it could be

Good news! A Texas Supreme Court ruling has spared the state from having to issue billions of dollars in tax refunds to oil and gas drillers — a prospect that had had threatened to shake up the next legislative session. The justices on Friday sided with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar in an arcane tax dispute […]

Straus wants to study school finance

I appreciate the effort, but I plan to keep my expectations low. Citing a recent Texas Supreme Court decision that upheld the state’s public school funding system while deeming it “undeniably imperfect,” state House Speaker Joe Straus on Thursday ordered representatives to study the school finance system and recommend reforms before the 2017 legislative session. […]

On big money high school stadiums

Texas Monthly is against ’em. As a part of a $220 million bond package, McKinney ISD is adding an opulent events center and 12,000-seat high school football stadium that will cost a total of $62.8 million. According to the Dallas Morning News, the stadium, set to open in 2017, will cost $50.3 million itself with […]

Board of Disciplinary Appeals suspends Rep. Reynolds’ law license

More bad news. Convicted of five misdemeanor counts of illegally soliciting clients to his personal injury law practice, state Rep. Ron Reynolds is now without a license to practice law. As Reynolds appeals his convictions, the Texas Supreme Court’s Board of Disciplinary Appeals has suspended the Missouri City Democrat’s law license, saying it would render […]

TEA Commissioner has no opinion yet on federal transgender bathroom directive

Noted for the record. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath on Tuesday praised the state Supreme Court’s recent opinion upholding the state’s public school funding system and demurred on questions about bathroom use by transgender students. “Last time I checked, it was a free country,” Morath said in a wide-ranging interview with The Texas Tribune’s Evan […]

Supreme Court upholds school finance system

I’m stunned. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday issued a ruling upholding the state’s public school funding system as constitutional, while asserting it could be better. “Our Byzantine school funding ‘system’ is undeniably imperfect, with immense room for improvement. But it satisfies minimum constitutional requirements,” Justice Don Willett wrote in the court’s 100-page opinion, which […]

We’re still lousy at funding schools

In case you were wondering. Texas still ranks in the bottom third of states in spending per pupil in the U.S., with essentially no change in either amount or standing, a new study shows. The finding doesn’t help, and could undercut, the state’s position in a long-running school finance case. Figures compiled by the National […]

Houston’s anti-pollution ordinance killed by Supreme Court

Alas. In passing two ordinances designed to regulate air pollution, the city of Houston overstepped its authority and illegally subverted state law, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday. The ruling is a victory for a coalition of industrial facilities whose emissions were subject to inspection and possible prosecution by the city. The case pit the […]

Supreme Court dismisses effort to dissolve state’s first same-sex marriage

I could be wrong, but I believe this closes the books on all the same-sex marriage litigation from last year. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday tossed out Attorney General Ken Paxton’s effort to undo the union of the first gay couple to legally wed in Texas. The court-ordered same-sex marriage of two Austin women had occurred months before such unions were legalized by […]

Lawsuits and low oil prices

Both are threatening the next Texas budget. Last week, lawyers for the state of Texas got the latest in a string of bad legal news. A lawsuit challenging the state’s foster care system as inhumane appeared to gain steam when an appeals court rejected the state’s request to stop the appointment of two “special masters” […]

City wins first round of term limits ballot language lawsuit

It’s round one, of course, but it’s still a win. The ballot language Houston voters used to change term limits for elected officials was “inartful” but not “invalid,” a state district judge ruled Wednesday, a move that nonetheless left the plaintiffs claiming victory ahead of an expected appellate battle. […] Much of the debate before […]

We’re not so good at school funding

I know, I’m as shocked as you are. Texas earned the worst marks in the country for its funding of public education, according to a research report released Wednesday. Researchers with Rutgers Graduate School of Education and the New Jersey-based Education Law Center called out the Lone Star State for ranking poorly on all of […]

On teaching kids who don’t speak English

From The Atlantic: Out of all the cities in Texas, this would seemingly have been the one where schools knew how to help Spanish-speaking students learn. El Paso is progressive and welcoming, and is more than 80 percent Latino. Its close ties with Ciudad Juarez, just across the border, means that the city embraces its […]

What kind of ruling might we expect in the school finance case?

KUHF explores the possibilities. Four major scenarios to watch for: The Texas Supreme Court could not rule at all. Instead, it could send the case back to the lower court to see if the latest $2.5 billion dollars to the education budget solves the problem. “And the court could say, you know, we need more […]

Supreme Court declines to intervene in Austin Uber referendum

Who knew they could do that? The Texas Supreme Court on Monday declined to order the Austin City Council to rewrite the ballot language on the proposed ride-hailing ordinance that will go before voters May 7. Austin music manager Samantha Phelps, working in conjunction with Uber, last week filed a petition for a writ of […]

Supreme Court asked to weigh in on Austin rideshare referendum

Of course it is. The Texas Supreme Court has been pulled into the ongoing battle between Uber and the City of Austin. An Austin resident, supported by Uber, has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the ballot language for a new measure regulating vehicle-for-hire companies within the city, scheduled to come before voters […]

The Supreme Court hears that case about how stupid our tax system is

There’s a lot of money riding on the outcome. With billions of dollars at stake, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a tax showdown whose outcome could shake up the next legislative session while straining the historically friendly relationship between state lawmakers and the iconic oil and gas sector. Throughout a spirited debate […]

Supreme Court to decide just how stupid our tax system is

Oh, goody. The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments in a case that could deliver a multi-billion windfall to struggling oil and gas producers by taking a major bite out of state tax revenue. The issue before the justices may sound arcane: Are metal pipes, tubing and other equipment used in oil and […]

HISD girds for budget cuts

Welcome to the job, Ken Huewitt. Isn’t this fun? Houston’s deputy superintendent on Thursday presented the school board with the deepest round of proposed budget cuts since 2011, leaving principals to decide between slashing staff, supplies, field trips or other activities. Ken Huewitt, who transitions to interim superintendent next week, called for teachers’ jobs to […]