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San Antonio can't fire cops who use the N-word or feed homeless people feces: Accountability systems in Texas civil-service cities broken

In San Antonio, recently, a fired police officer was reinstated by an arbitrator after repeatedly using the N-word to address a black suspect while handcuffing him. The head of the police union said it was no more offensive than the mayor publicly using the word, "goddamn." I suspect that's a minority viewpoint. San Antonio has emerged as the premier case study demonstrating that Texas' civil-service system is broken: 70% of police officers fired by the chief end up back on the force. The cit...
Tags: Texas, Law, Goldman, San Antonio, Garcia, Legislature, Bexar County, Gritsforbreakfast, Roger Goldman, Saint Louis University School of Law, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Tim Garcia, Emilie Eaton, Luckhurst, Matthew Luckhurst, TCOLE


TCOLE screwed up new racial profiling data required in 2017 Sandra Bland Act

Many kudos to the Houston Chronicle's Eric Dexheimer for identifying a big screw up by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement regarding racial-profiling data collection by Texas law enforcement agencies. In 2017, the Texas Legislature expanded the data collected to include after-stop data involving arrests, searches, contraband discovered, and use of force. But when the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement went to implement the statute's requirements via rule making, they excised the "racial" d...
Tags: Texas, Minnesota, Law, Sandra Bland, Houston Chronicle, Legislature, Eric, Texas Legislature, Gritsforbreakfast, Garnet Coleman, Eric Dexheimer, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Houston PD, Kim Vickers, George Floyd, TCOLE


Justices grant new cases, send Indiana abortion cases back for a new look

This morning the Supreme Court issued orders from the justices’ private conference yesterday. The justices granted five new cases, for a total of four additional hours of argument. The biggest news from the order list was the announcement (which I covered in a separate post) that the court will weigh in on whether the Department of Justice must disclose secret materials from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to the House Judiciary Committee. The remaining new cases, which are likely...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, California, Planned Parenthood, Kentucky, Germany, Nazis, Berlin, City, Indiana, Hungary, United States, Mali


"The 90s were the best. We didn’t have coronavirus, or cell phones, or computers. We had 5.0's, blockbuster, Beavis and Butthead, Wayne's World, Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan..."

"... Mortal Kombat is still better than Fortnight ... the last of the great decades."And we had Vanilla Ice — who is quoted above, from "Vanilla Ice throwing Fourth of July concert: 'We didn't have coronavirus' in the '90s/The 'Ice Ice Baby' singer will perform for thousands in Texas, where coronavirus cases are surging" (Entertainment Weekly).The concert will be in a large outdoor venue — Emerald Point Bar & Grill, on the shore of Lake Travis in Austin — and they're only selling tickets for ha...
Tags: Texas, Law, Austin, Jackie Chan, 1990s, Lake Travis, Chris Tucker, Ann Althouse, Vanilla Ice, Beavis and Butt-Head, Coronavirus, Butt Head, Butthead Wayne, Emerald Point Bar Grill


Thursday round-up

Court-watchers are focusing on Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, in which the court held on Tuesday that Montana’s exclusion of religious schools from a state-funded scholarship program for private schools violates the First Amendment. At Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy blog, Ilya Somin finds it “unfortunate” that the decision was “a close 5-4 ruling, split along ideological lines with the five conservative justices in the majority, and the four liberals all dissenting,” because “[s]triking ...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, California, Planned Parenthood, Washington Post, Montana, United States, ACS, Louisiana, Jackson, ACA, Economist, Round-up, Lech, National Review


A primer for new, local police-reform advocates in Texas

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,  committed, citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  - Margaret Mead On the Reasonably Suspicious podcast this week, the Austin Justice Coalition's Chas Moore and I talked about the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests across Texas, including in small towns and parts of the state without a significant history of civil-rights activism. In particular, we discussed how local reformers in smaller jurisd...
Tags: Texas, Minnesota, Supreme Court, Law, America, United States, San Antonio, Don, Marshall Project, Texas Legislature, Margaret Mead, Rushin, Gritsforbreakfast, Stephen Rushin, Public Information Office, Susan Chira


Symposium: How to count to one

John Knepper is a private attorney based in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He previously was chief deputy attorney general of Wyoming. He filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Susan B. Anthony List in support of the respondent in June Medical Services v. Russo. Marks v. United States instructs that when a majority of the justices cannot agree on more than the outcome, “the holding of the Court may be viewed as that position taken by those Members who concurred in the judgments on the narrowest grounds.” Mu...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Planned Parenthood, United States, Wyoming, Louisiana, Kafka, John Roberts, U S Court of Appeals, Casey, Stephen Breyer, Ramos, Clarence Thomas


Wednesday round-up

Yesterday the court issued two opinions, whittling its remaining cases down to eight. In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the court held 5-4 that Montana’s exclusion of religious schools from a state-funded scholarship program for private schools violates the First Amendment. Amy Howe analyzes the opinion for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. Mariam Marshedi has an analysis at Subscript Law. At NPR, Nina Totenberg and Brian Naylor report that “[t]he court’s...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, Montana, Bloomberg, New York Times, Fox News, Npr, Louisiana, Wall Street Journal, Trump, Round-up, National Review, John `` Roberts, The Supreme Court, Roberts


Spotlighting our unique times as feds seek to resume execution this month

The New York Times has this article detailing that the first planned executions in nearly two decades are coming at quite a time. The piece is fully headlined "Federal Executions to Resume Amid a Pandemic and Protests: The administration is pressing ahead with the first federal execution in 17 years as demonstrators seek changes to the criminal justice system and lawyers have trouble visiting death-row clients."  Here are excerpts (with one line emphasized for commentary): Daniel Lewis Lee is s...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Law, Congress, Washington, White House, Indiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, New York Times, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Biden, Washington State, Justice Department, Trump


Advice for Texas police reform activists outside the big counties: Interview with Chas Moore, plus was George Floyd set up by a crooked Houston narcotics cop? Texas' anachronistic 'riot' laws, and other stories

Better late than never, here's the June episode of Just Liberty's Reasonably Suspicious podcast, co-hosted by me and Amanda Marzullo. This month, Mandy and I reflect on the last month's tumultuous protests and calls for police reform in Texas and beyond. Top Story Reflecting on the George Floyd protests, including an interview with Chas Moore of the Austin Justice Coalition. Fill in the Blank Was George Floyd set up by a crooked Houston narcotics cop?The policy behind the slogan of "Defunding ...
Tags: Texas, Law, Austin, Houston, Marshall, East Texas, Mandy, Chas, Gritsforbreakfast, Chas Moore, Brian Manley, Amanda Marzullo, George Floyd, Austin Justice Coalition Fill, Defunding Police Texas


Symposium: June Medical and the many faces of judicial discretion

Jane Schacter is the William Nelson Cromwell professor of law at Stanford Law School. She signed an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in June Medical Services v. Russo. The headline from the 5-4 decision in June Medical Services v. Russo striking down Louisiana’s abortion restriction is unquestionably the vote of Chief Justice John Roberts. He determined the outcome. While he may have previewed his position a year ago when he voted to stay the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for t...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Law, Stanford, Louisiana, King, John Roberts, Roberts, Williamson, Lochner, Alito, U S Court of Appeals, Casey, Stephen Breyer, Breyer


Symposium: June Medical Services v. Russo: When a “win” is not a win

Gretchen Borchelt is vice president for reproductive rights and health at the National Women’s Law Center. She filed an amicus brief on behalf of NWLC and 72 other organizations in support of the petitioners in June Medical Services v. Russo. In June Medical Services v. Russo, a plurality of the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that would have thwarted abortion access to such a degree that it would have left “thousands of Louisiana women with no practical means of obtaining a safe, lega...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Louisiana, Donald Trump, John Roberts, Roberts, Casey, GONZALES, Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito, Carhart, Hellerstedt, Russo


Relists Return

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists. After a couple of weeks with no new relists, the Supreme Court is back this week with a vengeance. The court has scheduled an impromptu conference for Wednesday, July 1. In most years, an impromptu conference scheduled for the last week of June would be the mop-up conference for the entire term in which all outstanding business for the term is resolved. But the court still has enough outstanding opinions in argued cases that things may continue for a while y...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Colorado, Kentucky, Germany, Virginia, Hungary, United States, Williams, Tennessee, Sharp, Atkins


Symposium: The chief justice restores the Casey standard even while undermining women’s interests in Louisiana

Erika Bachiochi is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a Senior Fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute. Follow her at @erikabachiochi. In comparison to the high court’s bombshell opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County earlier this month, June Medical Services v. Russo would seem relatively straightforward. The challenged admitting privileges requirement for Louisiana abortion providers is virtually the same as the law struck down in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt just four year...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Planned Parenthood, Court, Louisiana, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thomas, John Roberts, Richard Posner, Roberts, Alito, Clayton County, Casey


Persistent prison problems as COVID-19 continues to course through carceral environments

It has been a few weeks since I rounded up, in this post and this post, some headlines and stories about incarceration nation's continued struggles with the coronavirus pandemic.  But ugly realities in carceral settings have not gone away, nor has the good reporting and research.  The first few pieces below are extended or updated reviews of national prison problems, the others are just a few media pieces providing snapshots of recent developments in a few particular jurisdictions: From The Mars...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Law, Alabama, New Mexico, Miami Herald, WBEZ, Pritzker, KWTX, Nashville Post, Douglas A Berman, COVID, Lake County Record Bee California


Tuesday round-up

Yesterday the Supreme Court released decisions in three cases, including one of the highest-profile cases of the term. In June Medical Services v. Russo, the court, by a vote of 5-4, struck down a Louisiana law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Amy Howe analyzes the opinion for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. Mariam Marshedi provides an analysis at Subscript Law. Ronn Blitzer and others report at Fox News t...
Tags: Health, Texas, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Washington Post, Mexico, Court, US, Bloomberg, Cnn, New York Times, Fox News, Npr, Louisiana, Wall Street Journal


Police reform roundup

Let's clear a few browser tabs; here are some odds and ends that recently caught my attention and may also interest Grits readers: Houston Chronicle: Chief Harris County trial prosecutor resigns over post comparing Black Lives Matter to Nazis.Houston Chronicle: Houston City Council hears calls for police reform, improved oversight board, reduced police budget. Here's another article on Houston's weak and ineffective civilian oversight board.SA Express News: Arbitrator reinstates SA cop fired for...
Tags: Texas, Law, Colorado, Dallas, Houston, Apd, Fort Worth, Ny Times, Houston Chronicle, Congressional Research Service, Harris County, Denver Post, Texas Tribune, Houston City Council, Gritsforbreakfast, Black Lives Matter to Nazis Houston Chronicle


Symposium: June Medical decision is no cause for congressional complacency

Richard Blumenthal is the senior United States senator from Connecticut. He joined an amicus brief on behalf of 197 members of Congress in support of the petitioners in June Medical Services v. Russo. He is the Senate lead sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act. Today’s Supreme Court decision in June Medical Services v. Russo is a landmark legal victory against radical politicians relentlessly attacking reproductive rights cross the country. Roe v. Wade is safe—for now. This ruling is an i...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Senate, United States, Connecticut, Louisiana, Donald Trump, Richard Blumenthal, John Roberts, Baton Rouge, U S Court of Appeals, Stephen Breyer, Breyer


Symposium: Chief Justice Roberts reins in the cavalry of abortion providers charging toward the elimination of abortion regulation

Cynthia Yee-Wallace is deputy attorney general of the state of Idaho. She filed an amicus brief on behalf of the state in support of the respondent in June Medical Services v. Russo, along with Brian Kane, who is the assistant chief deputy attorney general for the state of Idaho. Abortion providers won the most recent skirmish invalidating Louisiana’s admitting privileges law in June Medical Services v. Russo. But a close read of Chief Justice John Roberts’ concurring opinion will likely opera...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Planned Parenthood, Idaho, Alaska, Louisiana, U S Supreme Court, John Roberts, Roberts, Casey, Hellerstedt, Russo, Brian Kane, Medical Services


Opinion analysis: With Roberts providing the fifth vote, court strikes down Louisiana abortion law (Updated)

Four years ago, by a vote of 5-3, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that (among other things) required doctors who perform abortions to have the right to admit patients at a nearby hospital. In that case, Justice Anthony Kennedy joined his four more liberal colleagues in holding that, although Texas has a genuine interest in protecting the health of pregnant women, there was no evidence that the law actually did anything to promote that interest – but it did make it more difficult for wo...
Tags: Health, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Planned Parenthood, New Orleans, Louisiana, Kennedy, Thomas, John Roberts, Roberts, Baton Rouge, District Court, Alito, U S Court of Appeals


Morning Docket: 06.29.20

* The estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is suing Netflix for its depiction of Sherlock Holmes as a kind and caring sleuth. Wonder if there was ever legal action over Holmes and Watson... [CNN] * Texas law firms are rethinking reopening plans amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. [Texas Lawyer] * A disciplinary panel has suggested a two-year suspension for a lawyer who showed "aggressive tactics and relentless vindictiveness" in practicing law. Some clients might like those qualities. [ABA Journal] ...
Tags: Texas, Law, Netflix, Justin Bieber, Nebraska, Watson, Associated Press, Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, ABA Journal, Dallas Morning News, Holmes, Doyle, Morning Docket, COVID-19


Monday round-up

Amy Howe reports for this blog that on Friday the court denied a request that it revive a lower court ruling allowing any Texas voter to vote by absentee ballot without an excuse for the 2020 election cycle; her post originally appeared at Howe on the Court. For , Adam Liptak reports that “[t]he Texas Democratic Party and several voters had urged the court to reinstate a federal trial judge’s injunction requiring state officials to allow all voters, and not just those who are 65 or older, to su...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, Bloomberg, Harvard, Atlantic, United States, SEC, Fox News, Usa Today, Department Of Homeland Security, Securities And Exchange Commission, Trump, Round-up, Chapel Hill, University Of North Carolina


Justices reject effort to allow mail-in voting for all in Texas

The Supreme Court today refused to reinstate a ruling by a federal trial court that would have allowed all eligible voters in Texas to vote by mail for the 2020 election cycle. In a brief order without any noted dissents, the justices turned down a request from the Texas Democratic Party and a group of Texas voters to block a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that put the trial court’s ruling on hold. In a short statement, Justice Sonia Sotomayor urged the 5th Circuit to se...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Sonia Sotomayor, Howe, U S Court of Appeals, Sotomayor, 5th Circuit, Fred Biery, Texas Democratic Party, Biery, Emergency appeals and applications


9k New Cases Today in Florida

TrumpVirus Update: Florida reached 9,000 new cases today, up from its 5,000 record a few days ago. It has ordered bars to close. Too little, too late, of course, just like Texas. Unlike Birx who is thanking millenials for getting tested, I have... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Tags: Florida, Texas, Law, Birx


June linkfest

This month’s book recommendation, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, by Kathryn Schulz, is ten years old and as timely as ever. I wrote last month about Schulz’s excellent pieces for the New Yorker, and I’m here to tell you that Being Wrong is every bit as well researched, witty, and graceful. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that I’m fascinated by failure, but hey—everyone has a story to tell about wrongness petty or vast. Schulz’s catalog of errors includes explorers undone by mirag...
Tags: Books, Japan, Politics, Texas, London, Navy, Advertising, Karen, Military, Renaming, Linguistics, New Zealand, Army, Marine Corps, Words, Ben Smith


Friday round-up

Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports for The New York Times that “[t]he Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act — a move that, if successful, would bring a permanent end to the health insurance program popularly known as Obamacare and wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans.” At ABC News, Devin Dwyer reports that “[t]he administration makes the case in a legal brief filed Thursday in” California v. Texas, “the case brought by 20 Republi...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, California, Bloomberg, New York Times, Npr, Usa Today, Abc News, Kevin Johnson, Department Of Homeland Security, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, University Of California, ABA Journal, Trump, Round-up


Reform updates from Dallas, Houston, and Austin, a police-union hissy fit, how police spend their time, and other stories

Here are a few odds and ends related to policing that merit Grits readers' attention: Big D Demands for Police Reform Check out a out of Dallas from anti-police brutality activists, and see coverage from the Dallas Morning News: Dubbed 10 New Directions for Public Safety and Positive Community Change, the demands fall into one of two categories, the authors say: reprioritizing city and county money currently earmarked for public safety and increasing transparency and accountability.Among...
Tags: Texas, Law, Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Houston Chronicle, Austin Dallas, Sylvester Turner, Dallas Houston, Gritsforbreakfast, Austin PD, Brian Manley, Harris County Commissioners Court, Gerald Goines, Office of Police Oversight


Morning Docket: 06.22.20

* A lawyer in India appeared at a virtual hearing in a T-shirt lying in bed last week. This attorney should have read our earlier coverage of American lawyers making similar mistakes during remote appearances. [Tribune] * The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan made clear that he was fired and did not voluntary step down. [Reuters] * Black female YouTube creators have filed suit alleging that the algorithm used for the video-sharing website is racist. [AdWeek] * Some New Jersey attorneys are in hot ...
Tags: Google, Texas, Law, Youtube, India, New Jersey, Manhattan, Reuters, New Jersey Law Journal, Morning Docket, U.S. Attorneys, COVID-19, COVID


The Penultimate Week of In Seclusion

This upcoming week will be the final week for the In Seclusion Podcast. It’s been a great run, and I hope that you listen to the final episodes. Last week I had a fantastic and diverse group of guests who shared their stories of life during a pandemic from the perspectives of race, changing jobs, losing their jobs, data security, and looking and writing about the future. We’ve all handled this period of seclusion differently, but we have all learned from each other at the same time. Check out l...
Tags: Podcast, Texas, Law, Uncategorized, David, Dallas, Craig, Danny, Trustee, Information Security, Jackson Walker, Joel Lytle, Danny Norris Danny Norris, Harris County Texas Department of Education, David Kamien, Mind Alliance


Symposium: The Supreme Court again rejects flawed administrative action targeting Latinos

Nina Perales is vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which filed an   on behalf of the state of New Jersey and defendant-intervenor DACA recipients in Texas v. United States – an ongoing lawsuit challenging the legality of DACA – in support of the respondents in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, Trump v. NAACP and Wolf v. Vidal. The sequence of events is familiar by now: The White House decides to take...
Tags: New York, Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, White House, Dhs, United States, Commerce, New Jersey, Department Of Justice, Naacp, Department Of Homeland Security, Doj, Duke, Ross



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