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Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

House will address school finance

Good. With a plan that would add $3 billion to the state’s public education budget, the Texas House has decided to take on school finance reform this legislative session. As he announced a deal Wednesday that would put $800 million on top of the $2.2 billion the chamber had already allocated to public schools, Public […]

Supreme Court hears Renew Houston appeal

Last stop of the litigation train for the plaintiffs that have sued to overturn the Renew Houston referendum, on the grounds that the voters were misinformed about what they were voting for. Two lower courts have sided with the city, and the case has now landed in the state’s highest court, where attorneys for both […]

Judge Dietz would like the Lege to please fix school finance already

So would the rest of us, Your Honor. In his first major appearance since finding the Texas school finance system unconstitutional in 2014, state District Judge John Dietz said Sunday that a solution to the state’s unequal and ineffective public education system should come from the Legislature. “We are dooming a generation of these children […]

The backlash has begun

Item one. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to void a marriage license issued to two Austin women who became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in the state. Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, who have been together for 30 years, said their vows on Thursday after state […]

First same-sex marriage in Texas happens

It may be the only one for awhile, but it will definitely not be the only one. Despite Texas’ longstanding ban on same-sex marriages, two Austin women made history on Thursday when they became the first gay couple to legally wed in the state. A judge directed the Travis County clerk to issue a marriage […]

Supreme Court to hear Renew Houston lawsuit

Jeez, I’d forgotten this was still a thing. In a lawsuit filed after the election, three Houston property owners allege the ballot language was misleading. “You would have thought if you voted for this thing that it was a one-time, one-year tax,” said Andy Taylor, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, “when in fact […]

School finance case timeline announced

Mark “later this year” on your calendars. The Texas Supreme Court will hear the state’s appeal of last year’s far-reaching school finance decision later this year under a timetable laid out by the high court on Friday. Justices gave the state 80 days to file their briefs in the case and the plaintiff school districts […]

Supreme Court re-upholds strip club tax

Technically, they declined to re-review it, but practically speaking I figure it’ll amount to the same thing. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to review whether a $5-per-patron fee at live nude entertainment clubs is an occupation tax in disguise, letting stand a lower appeals court ruling that found alcohol-serving Texas strip clubs must […]

Bell ordered to pay $300K to RGA

Ouch. Unsuccessful 2006 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell, once awarded $2 million in his lawsuit against the Republican Governors Association, has instead been ordered to pay the organization $300,000 in legal fees after losing on appeal. The case dates to the closing days of the 2006 campaign, when the national association wrote two $500,000 checks […]

Abbott’s actions in the Hecht ethics case belie his “just doing my job” evasion

More accurately, it’s his lack of action that speaks clearly about his priorities and discretion. Attorney General Greg Abbott, accused of favoritism in his handling of an ethics case involving a Texas Supreme Court justice, says it’s not his duty to press the case that has sat idle for two years. That reasoning, however, doesn’t […]

TPJ files suit against Abbott over Hecht ethics case

Here we go again. An Austin legal watchdog group filed suit Wednesday to force action on a $29,000 ethics fine, levied against Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht in 2008, that has languished on appeal for 5½ years. The motion from Texans for Public Justice seeks to remove Attorney General Greg Abbott from the […]

Abbott appeals school finance case to Supreme Court

No surprise. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Friday appealed to the Texas Supreme Court a district court finding that the state’s school finance system is unconstitutional. State District Judge John Dietz’s Aug. 30 ruling called Texas’ current school finance system inefficient and inadequate, saying it created an de facto statewide property tax in violation […]

What next for school finance?

That depends on the Attorney General and the Supreme Court, but one way or the other it’s up to the Legislature. State lawmakers from both parties agreed the responsibility for funding public schools falls on them. But history suggests the Legislature is reluctant to act until its hand is forced. “I would be surprised if […]

HERO repealers try their luck with the Supreme Court

Because sure, why not? Opponents of Houston’s equal rights ordinance have asked the Texas Supreme Court to force the city secretary to certify the signatures on a petition they submitted seeking to trigger a repeal referendum on the law. Houston’s 14th Court of Appeals denied a similar request on Aug. 15, ruling that the emergency […]

Abbott does one last solid for Perry

He lets him keep his little secrets. After critics raised a stink about the tax dollars being spent to provide security for Gov. Rick Perry while he was gearing up to run for president, lawmakers passed a bill in 2011 designed to let Texans know — eventually — what they were getting for their money. […]

More on the Abbott-Duntsch connection

The Observer advances the ball. How immune are hospitals? Under the current law, for Baylor to be liable for Duntsch’s mistakes, the plaintiffs have to prove that hospital administrators let him operate because they specifically intended to harm patients. Soon after the three plaintiffs sued, Abbott’s office announced that it would be jumping in to […]

State bar grievance filed against Paxton

It’s getting to be hard to keep track of all of the complaints and legal actions being filed against the man who would be the state’s top lawyer. This one is a grievance filed with the State Bar of Texas by another watchdog group. In its grievance, the Austin-based Texas Coalition on Lawyer Accountability requests […]

Remember Ray Jones

So now that the HERO-haters’ petitions have been rejected by the city for not having enough valid signatures after all of the petition pages that were not compliant with the requirements of the city charter were thrown out, the story shifts to the courthouse. We don’t know exactly what the antis are going to claim […]

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 […]