Current cases in the news

  • The Denton Record-Chronicle reports on the Texas Supreme Court’s denial of review in JNC Partners Denton, LLC v. City of Denton, No. 06-0266. Ed Snyder, the city attorney, told the paper that the city was expecting that favorable result after last month’s decision in City of Rockwall v. Hughes (coverage here).

  • The Houston Chronicle has an article titled “HISD asks opponents to drop bond lawsuit” that makes reference to an ongoing Texas Supreme Court proceedings involving a Waller ISD bond package (previous coverage here). The ongoing Texas Supreme Court cases are In re Waller Independent School District, No. 08-0079 and Ex Parte Waller Independent School District, No. 08-0123.

    The school district is urging the opponents of a $805 million bond package to drop their suit. The article explains:

    Critics say the plea was made because of the implications of a recent statement from the state attorney general’s office, which has said it won’t approve bonds that are the subject of pending litigation. The agency’s statement was part of its explanation to the Texas Supreme Court why the attorney general cannot yet approve the Waller school district’s bonds, approved by voters in May 2007.

    “The Attorney General would ‘default his obligation to the state’ if he approved bonds whose validity was not apparent,” the office wrote after Waller officials asked the high court to order the attorney general to release the money.

    No ruling has been made, but the state’s response gives opponents of the bond issues hope of having their day in court.

    “If they think they’re going to browbeat us or the AG into bending to their will, they can take a flying leap,” said lawyer Ty Clevenger, who represents opponents of both bond issues.

Who says this blog has a narrow geographic reach?

On Friday, the Court’s order list answered two sets of certified questions from the Fifth Circuit. Meanwhile, half a world away, Justice Hecht’s answer to a very different sort of question was reprinted in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The question posed to Justice Hecht: “Why do grown-ups get to do what they want?” His answer is here (about half-way down the page). (( If you’re curious, this exchange was printed as part of “an edited excerpt” from a book in which the author sought to pose to real authority figures the kinds of questions asked by small children:

I planned my strategy. Should I open books or cruise the internet? Too easy. No, I’d give myself a challenge: I’d get each answer from a real person who knows it by heart, someone whose very livelihood depends on the knowledge that he carries in his head. I’d make nothing up, tempting as it might be. I’d call fire chiefs and astronauts and ships’ captains and movie directors and magicians and anyone else who might know a thing or two about something a seven-year-old wants to know.

This week’s two-part installment of “We’re taking it to the Supreme Court”

  • The Monitor (McAllen) reports about a recent Thirteenth Court decision involving an election contest over a school-board seat for the La Joya ISD. The court of appeals decision is Gonzalez v. Villareal, No. 13-07-00704-CV, from February 8, 2008.

    From the article:

    Ochoa said Friday that she believed the May election was valid, and that the 13th Court of Appeals did not take the evidence into consideration when it affirmed Hinojosa’s verdict last week. …

    Her attorney, Adam Poncio, said he is planning to file an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court on Monday. Opposing attorney Oscar Longoria has argued that the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case because there has been no other case decided on an election challenge that could be used to show that the appeals court did not follow established precedent.

  • The Daily News (Galveston County) reports about the First Court’s decision in City of Galveston v. Saint-Paul, No. 01-06-00580-CV . This case challenged the adequacy of the city’s public notice that it was leasing 185 acres of Pelican Island that was to be used by BP Energy for what the article calls “a controversial liquified natural gas terminal.”

    … Mark Stevens, who represents Saint-Paul, said he was disappointed about Thursday’s ruling by a three-judge panel and that his client likely would request a rehearing before the appeals court’s entire membership or go to the Texas Supreme Court.