At the beginning of every Dallas City Council meeting, long before most spectators (and many council members) are fully awake, a religious leader of some stripe stands at the podium and offers a brief prayer. A few months ago, we wondered whether the U.S. Supreme Court might declare such displays un ... More >>
On Thursday, the Texas Supreme Court will thrust itself into a debate as old as the Internet: Is the web a place where ideas and opinions, often vile, sometimes damaging, should be allowed to flow unencumbered? Or should there be some means of identifying defamatory speech and purging it from the In ... More >>
When the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and more than a dozen health care providers took Attorney General Greg Abbott to court in September to challenge Texas' new anti-abortion law, they weren't trying to tackle the entire law. Instead, they narrowed in on a few key provisions that were supposed to take ... More >>
The aftermath of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling last week reinstating the requirement that doctors performing abortions in Texas have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic was swift and sweeping. By the next morning, a third of the state's abortion clinics had ... More >>
The stakes in the two-day trial over Planned Parenthood's challenge to Texas' new abortion restrictions, which kicked off yesterday in Austin, are rather low. Whatever decision U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel hands down will be appealed to the 5th Circuit, then the Supreme Court, leaving the law in c ... More >>
BREAKING: PP, @ACLU, & @ReproRights have filed a suit in federal court to stop #HB2 from taking effect in TX. #StandWithTXWomen— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) September 27, 2013 Long before Wendy Davis laced up her pink Mizunos and stepped onto the floor of the Texas Senate for her h ... More >>
Quitting now on city's anti-immigrant court fight would be pricey.
The decade-long fight by the City of Farmers Branch to purge itself of undocumented immigrants may be coming to a court-ordered close. Last year, a judge ordered the city to implement single-member City Council districts, which shook up the formerly lily-white city government with the May election ... More >>
Ever heard the quotation, "Past is prologue"? The U.S. Supreme Court apparently hasn't, and its ruling Tuesday on the Voting Rights Act virtually assured that we're doomed to repeat history. In an incredible sweep, the majority chucked the nearly unanimous, bipartisan will of Congress and dismantled ... More >>
Really, Governor Rick Perry and Texas legislators, is that the best you could do? No concealed handgun permits for fetuses? No requiring persons with diacritical marks in their names to register proof of American-ness? No seceding from the union? Governor Rick calls a special session of the Legislat ... More >>
With North Texas' population exploding and near-perennial drought seeming more and more like a certainty rather than a fluke, state water planners have been scrambling to secure new supplies, going further and further afield in search of waterways that haven't been tapped out. Several years ago, th ... More >>
The attention of the country, or at least that segment of it that's politically aware enough to pay attention, is focused squarely on the U.S. Supreme Court,which this week is debating a pair of potentially momentous cases. Hollingsworth v. Perry, which was argued today, could do away with Californi ... More >>
The future of affirmative action in American universities could be decided within weeks, in a Supreme Court case with Texas roots. But a new report from the investigative journalists at ProPublica suggests that the story of Abigail Noel Fisher's fight against the University of Texas ultimately has v ... More >>
The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments today challenging the constitutionality of and need for Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, which requires Texas and other southern states with a history of suppressing the minority vote to get pre-clearance from the Feds before implementing changes ... More >>
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court answered the question of whether the U.S. Constitution allows the Ten Commandments to be displayed on government property with a resounding It depends. In a pair of decisions handed down on the same day, the court ruled both that a Ten Commandments display at the Texa ... More >>
Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark court case that originated in Texas with Norma McCorvey and ultimately led to the Supreme Court sweeping away a number of state and federal abortion restrictions. Because of Roe, terminating a pregnancy in the first trimester is between a wo ... More >>
Nearly a year and a half since the U.S. Supreme Court tossed a class action lawsuit filed by some 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees who say they hit a corporate glass ceiling, the plaintiffs hit a brick wall in Texas. Because the court ruled the women of Wal-Mart could not sue as a class, a num ... More >>
Let's say Abigail Noel Fisher wins her appeal now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Let's say a more conservative court backtracks on earlier opinions supporting the use of race as an admissions criterion at the University of Texas and tells the university to stop considering race altogether. ... More >>
For the second time in three days, a federal court has called a Texas voting measure as discriminatory. Earlier today, a three-judge panel in D.C. issued an opinion striking down the state's voter ID law, passed by the legislature last year. The law would require voters to present a valid photo ID ... More >>
When the Texas legislature passed new redistricting maps in 2011, it sure seemed that the lines had been drawn to dilute the power of Democratic-leaning Hispanic voters in favor of Republicans. State leaders swore that wasn't the case, but, rather than taking them to an unfriendly Justice Department ... More >>
At the end of the day yesterday, the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation sent a dispatch from its president, Brook Rawlings, reacting to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. "Make no mistake," Rawlings wrote. "This outcome is a net negative for every Texan -- and ... More >>
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down much of Arizona's illegal immigration law Monday morning, leaving its most controversial, show-me-your-papers provision standing, and that only provisionally. Experts say the decision provides a road map to federal courts evaluating immigration laws enacted in plac ... More >>
New laws in dozens of states could take out Barack Obama this fall.
The U.S. Supreme Court and President Obama leave the undocumented and their allies no choice but to escalate civil disobedience.
A hostile Supreme Court. A feckless Obama administration. America's war on Mexicans has gone too far.
Back in November U.S. District Judges Orlando Garcia and Xavier Rodriguez down in San Antonio drew up new congressional and state House and Senate maps, since they so hated the ones submitted by the Texas Legislature. The judges claimed the state willfully ignored the state's growing Hispanic pop ... More >>
Carol Kent's hoping to run for House Disrict 107, if there is a House Distict 107.As we were leaving the office Friday, word came down that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement) got what they wanted from the U.S. Supreme Court: a ruling that, for now, ... More >>
On Wednesday we got our first look at the new-look Texas maps drawn by the court, which is attempting to rectify the U.S. Department of Justice's concerns that the state Legislature is attempting to keep Hispanics from voting for Hispanic candidates, especially in Dallas-Fort Worth. To which Texa ... More >>
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a very confusing ruling in the case involving Dallas County's voting machines -- a case, you'll recall, that stemmed from Linda Harper-Brown's 19-vote victory over Democrat Bob Romano in 1998. Long story short: The Texas Democratic Party (represent ... More >>
Schutze, unlike the city, is not up the Neches River without a paddle.The U.S. Supreme Court today has ruled against the city of Dallas in its lawsuit over the proposed Neches River Reservoir -- an 11th hour reprieve for the state's last wild river. It's a two-word ruling - "certiorari denied" - ... More >>
Yesterday, the case of John D. Cerqueira, Petitioner v. American Airlines, Inc. was on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court -- which ultimately decided to not to bother. For those unfamiliar with the details of the case -- for which the NAACP offered an amicus brief in support of Cerqueira -- it inv ... More >>
Ronald "Buffalo" Chambers, as he looked 32 years ago Dallas Observer editor Mark Donald and I have written about Ronald Chambers on and off for years -- Mark, for D, way back in the spring of 1986. (Ancient Observer stories, alas, have not been been so rigorously archived.) For 32 years, the 53-year ... More >>
Karl Chamberlain is awaiting execution for the 1991 rape and murder of a 30-year-old Dallas woman. The Santa Fe Reporter this morning has a story about Karl Chamberlain -- a New Mexico man awaiting execution in Texas for the 1991 rape and murder of a 30-year-old Dallas woman. According to the Texas ... More >>
When Sharon Keller turned off the clock on a Death Row inmate's last-gasp appeal, she became the most vilified judge in Texas
This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in the case James LaRue v. DeWolff, Boberg & Assoc., Inc., et al., which probably means nothing to you. Unless, that is, you're invested in your company's 401(k) plan, in which case, this Dallas-based case is plenty interesting. B ... More >>
More than three decades ago, a then-21-year-old Ronald "Buffalo" Chambers was sentenced to die. Today, he got yet another reprieve -- this time, from the Supreme Court. On April 10, 1975, Ronald "Buffalo" Chambers and another man kidnapped 22-year-old Texas Tech student Mike McMahan and 20-year-old ... More >>
Buffalo Chambers will not die on Thursday, thanks to a Supreme Court justice. Many years ago, Mark Donald and I wrote about a man named Ronald "Buffalo" Chambers for the paper version of Unfair Park. I thought this item, from December 13, would be the last (or next-to-last) thing I would write about ... More >>
Although the November 7th election is more than a week away, the prescient minds at Unfair Park are able to divine some of the day-after press coverage. Excerpts after the jump.
In the coming days, or hours, the Supreme Court will consider whether Tom DeLay's a good map maker. As Tom DeLay morphs from Texas elected official to Virginia lobbyist, he leaves a threefold legacy: corruption, bitter partisanship and the Texas congressional district map adopted in 2003. While the ... More >>
Plus: Déja Vu, Second Coming, Soldier of Misfortune
We'll never tell, despite the Supreme Court
Andre Lewis was eight hours from being executed, until the courts realized they had made a big mistake
Got what it takes for law school? Play the game and find out.
Order in the cork
Paula Jones wonders whether she's up for an appeal, but the Supreme Court may decide for her