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Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

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 […]

Getting all of the courts ready for e-filing

I confess to being a little confused at first when I read this. A half-dozen Harris County departments will spend the rest of the year scrambling to fulfill a Texas Supreme Court mandate that all civil courts accept only electronic filings, starting next January. In a ruling issued last December, the high court said large […]

It’s always time for a tax cut

I have three things to say about this: With less than two months remaining in the 83rd legislative session, Gov. Rick Perry on Monday called on state lawmakers to find $1.6 billion to give Texas businesses relief from the state’s franchise tax. Perry’s proposal consists of four parts: reducing the overall franchise tax rates by […]

Senate committee restores some money to public education

Emphasis on the “some”. Texas public schools would get back a chunk of the $5.4 billion in state funding they lost two years ago under a budget proposal adopted by the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. But they probably should not expect much more than the $1.5 billion the committee added to the 2014-15 state […]

Houston loses air pollution permit lawsuit

Bummer. The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Houston may not effectively void a state air pollution permit. The justices agreed with Southern Crushed Concrete that Houston’s 2007 law restricting the location of concrete-crushing facilities violates state statute by nullifying a permit issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. In reversing an appeals court […]

This time it’s different

Why is this school finance ruling different from all other school finance rulings? For one thing, it was way more comprehensive. The changes needed to correct the constitutional violations [Judge John] Dietz identified could comprise the most far-reaching overhaul of education policy the state has enacted in more than 40 years, said Lynn Moak, a […]

School finance system ruled unconstitutional

Surely no one is surprised by this. The system Texas uses to fund public schools violates the state’s constitution by not providing enough money and failing to distribute the money in a fair way, a judge ruled Monday in a landmark decision that could force the Legislature to overhaul the way it pays for education. […]

Another setback for open beaches

At this rate, the concept of “open beaches” is on its way to becoming an anachronism. The Texas Supreme Court dealt another blow Friday to the Texas Open Beaches Act in a case pitting beachfront property owners against the city of Surfside. The court overturned an appeals court ruling upholding Surfside’s refusal to permit repairs […]

Precinct analysis: Third parties revisited

Politico has a question. Is Austin’s Travis County the nation’s Libertarian Party stronghold? The co-founders of a Libertarian political action committee based there make that case, arguing that the Texas locale is the “most Libertarian large county in America.” Wes Benedict and Arthur DiBianca of Libertarian Booster PAC note that 31 Libertarian candidates were on […]

Are two courts better than one?

Why exactly do we need two top courts in Texas? A proposal for the upcoming legislative session is resuscitating a debate that goes back to the writing of the Texas Constitution in 1876. The bill, authored by state Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, would abolish the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest court […]

Two minus five is still less than zero

It’s nice that Speaker Joe Straus wants to restore public education funding, but let’s be clear about what that means. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus said Friday he’s committed to pumping billions of dollars back into the state’s public schools, even though the Legislature approved historically deep cuts just last year. In an interview with […]

Plaintiffs rest their case in school finance lawsuit

Phase one is over. Hundreds of districts suing the state over its school finance system wrapped up their case Wednesday with testimony that largely blamed the Legislature for creating the current funding crisis that stripped away an unprecedented $5.4 billion from public schools. After more than six weeks of testimony, the four plaintiff groups of […]