U.S. Court of Appeals

  • Blogs

    November 6, 2014

    Backstory: The Fifth Circuit Wasn't Always the Most Conservative Court Around

    These days the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals can generally be counted on for issuing decisions that are so far right they're practically left. They've made headlines in the last three months alone for their decisions on abortion law alone. There are conservative courts in the United States, but the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 14, 2014

    Surprise! Supremes Step In and Block Parts of Texas Abortion Law

    The U.S. Supreme Court has stepped in and blocked theFifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that had shuttered all but eight of Texas' abortion clinics. On October 2, the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling allowing state officials to immediately begin enforcing the second part o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 2, 2014

    Fifth Circuit Ruling Shutters Most of Texas' Abortion Clinics

    More than a dozen abortion clinics in Texas won't reopen tomorrow. The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Thursday afternoon allowing state officials to immediately begin enforcing the second part of House Bill 2 (the one that state Sen. Wendy Davis famously filibustered agains ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 22, 2014

    8 Surprising Crimes On The Books in Texas

    We've all heard about the arcane laws that somehow still survive on the books. Hell, the fifth graph of the Texas Constitution says you can't hold office unless you "acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being." This isn't a post about those types of strange-yet-unenforced laws. Under Supreme Cou ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 29, 2014

    Most Texas Abortion Clinics Could Close Next Week

    Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there were 41 abortion clinics in Texas. If things don't change by Sept. 1, there may only be six or seven clinics left in the entire state. Since House Bill 2 was slammed through the legislature last year (despite the filibuster that made state Sen. Wendy D ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 7, 2014

    Courts are Making Interesting Rulings on Abortion Restrictions Similar to Those in Texas

    Texas is most likely on course to enact the last section of the state's stringent abortion laws, forcing all but six of the abortion clinics in Texas to close, but there are interesting goings-on as similar state abortion laws work through the court system. Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of App ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 6, 2014

    State Attacks Whole Women's Health in Battle Over Anti-Abortion Bill

    Clinics continue to rail against the state's new abortion law in court, a law that has closed almost half the abortion clinics in Texas through more stringent facilities requirements and required hospital admitting privileges. Whole Woman's Health has closed clinics in Beaumont, McAllen and Austin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 1, 2014

    Appeals Court Rules Texas Not at Fault in Whooper Deaths

    Back in the 1940s, there were only 16 whooping cranes left in the world. The birds, hunted for their white feathers (used for ladies hats, of all things) and shot for sport, were on the brink of extinction, but they didn't go the way of the Dodo. Instead, years of conservation efforts brought the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 27, 2014

    Supreme Court Nixes Buffers, But Texas Abortion Clinics Are Mostly Closing Anyway

    In the middle of the big Wendy Davis filibuster last year, it must have been tempting to think that something big was happening, that real change was afoot, or at least there was a chance the anti-abortion law would be stopped. Well, that was cute. It's been a year now, as of this week, and nothin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 27, 2014

    Just a Matter of Time Before Gay Texans Start to Legally Marry --- It's NBD!

    Just as arch-conservative Arizona Governor Jan Brewer crumbled to public and political pressure and vetoed Arizona's so-called "anti-gay legislation," a Texas federal court judge (Hon. Orlando Garcia) in San Antonio struck down Texas's ban on same-sex marriage because it violated the equal protectio ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 7, 2014

    Federal Appeals Court Hears Texas Abortion Law

    The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Monday over the controversial Texas abortion law. The law, which was allowed to be enacted in October by the Fifth Circuit, requires doctors to have local hospital admitting privileges to conduct abortions. State Sen. Wendy Davis rocketed to p ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 1, 2013

    Appeals Court Reinstates Part of Texas Abortion Law

    Days after U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued an injunction blocking parts of the new Texas abortion law, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has reinstated the portion of the law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of the clinic. The le ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2013

    UPDATED: Federal Judge Blocked Part of Texas Abortion Law

    UPDATE: Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz have both issued statements about Yeakel's decision and we're shocked to report they're both agin' it. In other news, the world is round! Puppies are cute! There's gambling in Casablanca! Anyways, Perry said he'll continue the fight (or something John Wayne ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 26, 2013

    Appeal Filed in Animal Crush Video Case

    Four months after a federal judge dismissed charges against a Houston couple who created animal torture videos because the statute was unconstitutional, federal prosecutors have filed an appeal arguing that the judge ruled in error. Crush videos "are unprotected under the First Amendment for the sa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 3, 2013

    BP Just Wants To Be Loved (And To Not Pay For The Gulf Oil Spill)

    The folks over at British Petroleum want the world to know they feel real bad about that explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico back in 2010. Last week, the company even took out a nice-sized ad in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, saying as much. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2013

    The Supremes Want to Hear About Cross-State Air Pollution (Texas Still Doesn't)

    The Supreme Court is all finished with the rulings for this session, but the high court is already looking ahead to the next session, and they're about to take a look at air, as in air pollution. In July 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, requir ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 25, 2013

    UPDATED: Hard-Right Group Wants to Push Broad Religious Exemptions into State Constitution

    When Texas first passed its Religious Freedom Act in 1999, Scott Hochberg, then a Democratic State Representative, found a strange ally. Texas Right to Life, a pro-life organization still extant, had consistently stood opposite Hochberg's legislation never testified for Hochberg's legislation -- the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 27, 2012

    AG Greg Abbott Can't Keep Himself Out Of The Kountze Cheerleader Bible Case

    In a development that really only has people asking "What took so long?" Texas attorney general Greg Abbott, ever eager to flail whatever red-meat rightwing issue that crosses his desk, has "offered assistance" to the good folks at the Kountze school district who have received a "menacing and mislea ... More >>

  • Calendar

    June 14, 2012
  • Blogs

    January 11, 2012

    Texas's Sonogram Law Gets New Lease on Life

    The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the temporary injunction on Texas's so-called sonogram law, clearing the way for abortion providers to enforce the new mandate. The law, championed by Senator Dan Patrick, requires a sonogram whenever a woman seeks an abortion. The law requires the wom ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 3, 2011

    Pop Rocks: Finally, The Super Bowl Is Safe For PG-13 Rated Entertainment Again

    The boob that launched a thousand obscenity complaints...​Over seven years after the FCC went into a tizzy over Janet Jackson exposing her breast during the 2004 Super Bowl (making a D-cup out of an A-cup, perhaps), a federal appeals court upheld its finding yesterday that the commission acted ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 6, 2011

    Energy Execs Get Nervous: Feds To Reopen Investigation Into Enron Manipulating Electricity Prices

    There are some (a lot?) of former Enron traders and execs in town who might have thought they had safely weathered the investigation into whether that company manipulated electricity prices in California in 2000, causing a crisis. They may have to think again. FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory C ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 19, 2011

    Continental Told To Butt Out Of Pilot's Bedrooms

    "No tears and no hearts breaking, no remorse..."​Continental Airlines kicked up a stir in 2009 when they went after nine pilots for having "sham divorces" in order to get early pension benefits. The airline apparently felt it could determine what is and isn't true love, or true divorce, a ski ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 11, 2011

    If You Ran a Red-Light Camera This Morning, You'll Get Mail

    The money machine is running again​The red-light cameras have been turned back on and fines are being issued. Much as it pains Mayor Annise Parker to get all the revenue, she will be forced to take it until the city can appeal a judge's ruling. U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes late Friday deni ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 6, 2011

    Abortion Sonogram Hearing: Novel Arguments from Plaintffs, So Judge Wants More Briefs

    Novel arguments from abortion-rights supporters, judge says.​Opponents trying to block the state's new so-called sonogram bill may have a tougher road in Texas than they've had in other states. This morning's hearing in Austin, before U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, did not produce an immedia ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 13, 2011

    Silsbee Cheerleader: Bid to Help Assault Victim Gets Overwhlemed

    Silsbee High still getting the attention​Word comes via the Bayou blog of an effort to help pay the legal fees of the Silsbee cheerleader who was thrown off the squad for refusing to cheer the player she said raped her. The cheerleader took the school district to court, but the 5th U.S. Circu ... More >>

  • News

    March 10, 2011

    He's Only a Perv

    Court rules video voyeur not a child pornographer

  • Blogs

    February 28, 2011

    Alan Ray Steen: Just a Perv, Not a Child Pornographer

    A tanning bed is not sexy, court rules​The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has formally ruled: Alan Ray Steen is a pervert, he's not a child pornographer. Steen liked to go to tanning salons and stick a video camera over the cubicle wall to tape women; one day the person he taped turned out ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 13, 2011

    Imam Zoubir Bouchikhi: Arrested Shortly Before Deportation

    Photo and video by Paula BeltránProtests over an imam's treatment​Yesterday Ilyes and Omar Bouchikhi, aged 13 and 11, left school early to attend a protest on behalf of their father, Imam Zoubir Bouchikhi. Bouchikhi, the spiritual leader of a mosque in Southeast Houston who last year was de ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 4, 2011

    War On Christmas Revived: Federal Court Gives "No Jesus Pencils!" Principals Another Chance

    A setback in the War Against the War on Christmas​Just when you thought the War on Christmas had been won -- and by the good, God-fearing, Constitution-hating forces, too -- along comes another setback. We told you last month about two Texas elementary principals who had failed to convince a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 7, 2010

    Comment Of The Day: War On Christmas Edition

    ​We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning, from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula involv ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 6, 2010

    WAR ON CHRISTMAS: Texas Principals Still Face Lawsuit Over Banning Jesus Pencils & Candy Canes

    Who knew Jesus was a "Say my name! Say my name!" guy?​Two Texas elementary school principals have failed in their attempt to have the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismiss a suit filed against them for trying to kill the spirit of Christmas, not to mention Jesus, in innocent young children ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 9, 2010

    Rappers Vs. Uncle Sam: N.W.A., Eminem, Kanye...

    ​Mike Myers will probably go down in history as the most uncomfortable white guy next to a black guy in TV history, thanks to Kanye West's unscripted outburst during that infamous Hurricane Katrina telethon. It began with Myers reading his part of the script verbatim. Two-thirds into the PSA, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 19, 2010

    Prisoners Still Can't Get No Relief from Courts, Rita

    ​In the end, it wasn't about how awful the conditions were for inmates trapped inside a Beaumont federal prison during Hurricane Rita. To the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, it was all about jurisdiction. Two years ago, more than 400 former and current inmates sued the U.S. government, claimin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 29, 2009

    Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Involving Alleged Spy Shot By HPD Officers

    ​In the court of law, it never really mattered whether Roland Carnaby was a spy, as he claimed just before police gunned him down along the highway following a high-speed chase. After all, his widow, Susan, was suing the City of Houston and a pair of its police officers in federal court for excess ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 27, 2009

    Harvard, Meet The Polk County Poh-leece

    A couple of students from Harvard Law School recently got a taste of the Polk County Sheriff's Office and spent some time in the county jail after going out on assignment for their internships at a Houston legal clinic. The students had driven to Livingston to interview a Polunsky Unit guard at his ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 11, 2009

    The City Of Houston Takes On Orbitz And Priceline

    The City of Houston and the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority are currently suing multiple travel websites such as Orbitz and Priceline over tax revenues it claims the sites owe it. Online travel sites pay wholesale prices to hotels for rooms and then customers book those rooms at a mark-up fro ... More >>

  • News

    January 15, 2009

    The Chron, Enron Hatah

    A federal court quotes a dog

  • Blogs

    January 8, 2009

    The Houston Chronicle Is Responsible For Jeff Skilling's Prison Term, Court Finds

    As everyone knows, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Enron's Jeff Skilling this week, although it overturned his sentence in a move that might slightly reduce it.Skilling's most passionate local supporter in the blogworld, attorney Tom Kirkendall of Houston's Clear Thinkers, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 6, 2008

    Human Smuggler Gets A Longer Sentence

    There was a bit of an uproar two years ago when one of the ringleaders of a notorious smuggling effort that resulted in 19 deaths was sentenced to only the 33 months she had already served. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new sentencing for Norma Gonzalez Sanchez, and the results ca ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2008

    Judge Sam Kent Indicted On Sex Charges (Begone, Mental Image, Begone!)

    The Houston Chronicle has the breaking news that U.S. District Judge Sam Kent of Galveston has been indicted, which is not a good career move for a federal judge. Being indicted "on charges of abusive sexual contact and aggravated sexual abuse" just doesn't sound good on the ol' resume. Kent, a ho ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 22, 2008
  • Blogs

    June 27, 2007
  • News

    January 13, 2005

    Draining the Swamp

    A scorched-earth management philosophy is sucking the life out of our region's wetlands

  • Best of Houston

    September 26, 2002

    Best Court Ruling

    U.S. District Judge David Hittner

  • News

    July 4, 2002

    Innocence Lost

    The D.A.'s policy cuts into an inmate advocacy program

  • News

    October 18, 2001

    Payback Time?

    Dick DeGuerin beat the IRS. Now there's a bigger war over basic rights.

  • News

    August 3, 2000

    Out of the Closets

    Archiving Houston's queer history, one T-shirt at a time

  • News

    September 5, 1996
  • News

    August 29, 1996

    No Time for Sergeants

    The Houston Police Department puts high-ranking cops out on the street

  • More >>