U.S. Supreme Court

  • 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 7, 2014

    The Supremes Won't Hear Gay Marriage Cases, So What About Texas?

    On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court shocked the hell out of everybody when they declined without comment to hear any of the cases brought before them appealing state bans on gay marriage in Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana. The move made gay marriage legal in those states, but it left T ... 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

    July 16, 2014

    Married, Sort Of: The Legal Limbo of Being Gay and Married in Texas

    Jenn and Lizzie Wigle are wandering the halls of a bridal expo, searching more for ideas than products or services. Eventually they visit three of the events, looking at dresses, invitations, cake decorators and all the other trappings of the $40-billion-a-year American wedding industry. Most of t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 3, 2014

    Plutocracy in Action: Rick Perry's Employment Agency and McCutcheon Simplified

    That quaking and creaking isn't from the Chilean earthquake, it's a destructive seismic shift to right-wing extremism and plutocracy in real time with its epicenter in Texas. The rumble began with Greg Abbott's new education model, "Teach the Best and Shoot the Rest" based on Charles Murray's white ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 4, 2014

    Texas Suburb Spent (Lost) $6M on Ordinance that Made People Show Papers to Rent

    Is it worth more than $6 million to defend a city ordinance? In the wake of a supreme lack of interest by the U.S. Supreme Court, maybe the people of Farmer's Branch aren't so sure. It all started about eight years ago when Farmer's Branch, a little suburb being steadily absorbed by Dallas, passed ... 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

    February 5, 2014

    Women Are Having Fewer Abortions: Here's Why

    The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice think thank, but one that is also considered to have most reliable numbers and statistics when it comes to abortion data, has released a study showing that abortion rates are as low as they've ever been since Roe v. Wade (1973). Only 17 of every 1,000 women are ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 24, 2014

    Bringing the Voting Rights Act Back to Life: Texas May Be Back on the "Pre-Clearance" List

    Last June, the four movement conservatives on the Supreme Court, joined by Anthony Kennedy, held that the Voting Rights Act's "pre-clearance" procedure was a relic of the past--the South, and society in general, had changed, the High Court told us. No longer did states and jurisdictions that had a h ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 22, 2014

    Truthiness and Free Speech: Supreme Court Takes Up Important First Amendment Case

    The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) recently agreed to hear a case that has important implications for political discourse in campaigns. Indeed, this case has a little bit of everything: abortion rights, free speech, campaign finance and PACs. Here's what happened: an anti-abortion PAC, Susan B. Anthony Lis ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 13, 2014

    The Texas Supreme Court is Interested in the Keystone Pipeline Case, Go Figure

    When the Texas Supreme Court agreed to take a look at the case, The Crawford Family Farm Partnership vs. TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LLC. it's a fair bet that everyone and their dog thought the justices would have their minds made up before they even got the case file. Well, it seems everyone an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 12, 2013

    Texas Gets an "F": Center for Public Integrity Issues New Report on State Judges

    State supreme courts don't get nearly the attention the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) does. State supreme courts decide more mundane issues related to contract, tort and state procedural law, while SCOTUS decides the hot-button/culture war issues surrounding abortion, guns, the death penalty ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 2, 2013

    Corporations Are People, My Friend, But Can They Have Religious Beliefs Too?

    Mitt Romney caught a lot of flak for saying "corporations are people, my friend" when responding to a heckler on the campaign trail last year. Many people -- mostly liberals -- were incensed, noting that this showed Romney's solicitude for big business over the "little guy." Set aside the fact that ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 27, 2013

    The Top 5 2013 Political Topics To Avoid at Thanksgiving Dinner

    In this age of pluralistic families, we are likely to encounter at our family Thanksgiving dinners folks of all political stripes. Perhaps you have a very conservative uncle/nephew/father, who thinks Obama is a raging socialist. Perhaps your younger sister is coming back from college imbued with a n ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 20, 2013

    Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Texas Abortion Law

    Judge Richard Posner, the leading judicial-scholar of our generation (think Oliver Wendell Holmes and Learned Hand), recently said in an interview: "Well, I don't like the Supreme Court. I don't think it's a real court. I think of it as basically . . . it's like a House of Lords. It's a quasi-polit ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 8, 2013

    Texas Abortion Case Might Be the Next Big Supreme Court Abortion Ruling

    em>Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, a/k/a the "Texas Abortion Case," might be the fodder for the Supreme Court's latest pronouncement on abortion. Let's start with the "might": the Supreme Court only takes those cases that it wants to hear (granting a writ of certiorari, in the jargon), so there is the ... 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

    October 15, 2013

    California, Bucking Other States, Expands Access to Abortion

    As you can see from this chart, since the 2010 mid-term elections there has been a significant uptick in abortion restrictions. State legislatures in Texas, Ohio, North Dakota (overturned in Court), Wisconsin (also blocked in court) and Pennsylvania (among others) have all enacted restrictions on ab ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 16, 2013

    Abortion Returns to the Supreme Court: A Preview

    Abortion. Just to read the word provokes strong mental images, emotions and opinions. Since the tea party mid-term elections in 2010 swept in some very conservative legislators in states across the country, abortion, after taking a back seat to economic issues, has become a hot button issue again. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 8, 2013

    John Cornyn Insists Voter ID=Voter Equality, The Right Side of Texas Nods Its Amens

    While President Obama and many others see the Supreme Court's June ruling on the Voter Rights Act as the complete knee-capping of minority election rights, our own Senator John Cornyn says everything is a-OK and it's about time. Continuing his appeal to the right wing people of Texas, says the SC ... 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

    June 28, 2013

    New Voter ID, Unavailable in Seventy Counties in State, Opens With Wealth of Issues Remaining

    Between Sen. Wendy Davis's filibuster and the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, this week has been a strangely successful one for progressives in Texas. However, there was a ruling before either of these realities that girded conservatives and tea partiers in the s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 26, 2013

    UPDATED SCOTUS: Defense of Marriage Act is Unconstitutional, Prop 8 Appeal Dismissed

    The Update: SCOTUS has effectively killed California's Proposition 8 -- and therefore allowed same-sex marriage to continue in that state -- by dismissing an appeal from the Prop's proponents. The justices ruled that the proponents did not have legal standing to appeal the California Supreme Court' ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 14, 2013

    The Supremes Say No Red River Water for North Texas

    If North Texans thought they'd get their hands on Oklahoma water from the Red River, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled they've got another thing coming. The Tarrant Regional Water District has been trying to buy water from Oklahoma to help the growing population up in that corner of Texas -- you kno ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 7, 2013

    10 of Our Favorite Parody Songs to Celebrate the Day They Became Fair Use

    On this day in 1994 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that parodies, commercial or non-commercial, do not violate copyright law. 2 Live Crew had applied for permission to parody Roy Orbinson's "Oh Pretty Woman," but were refused. They made the song anyway, and after a quarter of a million ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 26, 2012

    U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Michelle Gaines Case, $8 Million Judgment Remains Overturned

    The U. S. Supreme Court today rejected the appeal by Michelle Gaines, the Palestine, TX woman we wrote about in August who as a teenager was broadsided by an 18-wheeler with no brakes and suffered extensive lasting brain injuries. Initially a jury had awarded Gaines more than $8 million in damages ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 30, 2012

    Texas GOP Slapped Again: Now Judges Toss Voter ID Law

    For the second time this week, federal judges have dealt setbacks to grand plans by Texas Republicans to suppress the minority vote protect the sanctity of the ballot. Tuesday a federal panel found the state's new redistricting maps to be biased; today another panel has ruled that the new voter ID ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 10, 2012

    An Obamacare Playlist You Can Afford

    The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act has now been almost two weeks ago. If you keep up with national news, or maybe just don't avoid the Internet machine, well, you have probably observed that people are still noticeably buzzing about the ruling. It does happen to be one o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 28, 2012

    SCOTUS, Obamacare, CNN Effing Up: Supreme Court Decisions In The Twitterverse (UPDATED With Keen Rick Perry Insight)

    If you were two seconds late posting your "BREAKING NEWS!" report of the Supreme Court decision largely upholding Obamacare, you were left in the dust and looking like a fool, fool. Hey, dude, tell us something we don't already know! You get your news by Pony Express? Harrumph. frowny face, etc etc ... More >>

  • Calendar

    June 14, 2012
  • News

    June 7, 2012

    Crossing the Line: Welcome Back, Jim Crow

    New laws in dozens of states could take out Barack Obama this fall.

  • News

    June 7, 2012

    Crossing The Line: Days of Rage

    The U.S. Supreme Court and President Obama leave the undocumented and their allies no choice but to escalate civil disobedience.

  • News

    June 7, 2012

    Crossing the Line: Bordering on Revolution

    A hostile Supreme Court. A feckless Obama administration. America's war on Mexicans has gone too far.

  • Blogs

    January 20, 2012

    Is Texas Going to Have a Primary? Redistricting Maps Go Back to Drawing Board

    The Texas primary is allegedly a little more than two months away, but some people still don't know what congressional or state-legislature district they're in, and the people running for those seats don't know who to court. The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a redistricting map drawn up by a pa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 25, 2011

    Eminem's Victory Over Label Could Have Far-Reaching Effects

    Now a Recovery in more ways than one.​Eminem quietly scored a major victory in a case involving download royalties this week. The U.S. Supreme Court threw out an appeal filed by Universal Music Group, the world's largest music empire, against Eminem's former production company F.B.T. Productio ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 28, 2010

    Anna Nicole Smith: The U.S. Supreme Court Decides To Get Involved

    Anna Nicole Smith's court case lives on​The Anna Nicole Smith litigation, which seemingly has gone on as long as her career did, is not over yet.The U.S. Supreme Court, of all people, has decided to wade into the case and rule on whether a Houston jury made the right decision when it kept Smith fr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 11, 2010 Throws a Little Protest in Houston

    Photos by Christopher Patronella,, throwing signs. See a slideshow from yesterday's protest.​Local members of held a rally Tuesday taking aim at corporate control in Washington, delivering petition signatures to the Heights office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and ur ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 24, 2010

    Sonia Sotomayor Critiques The Chronicle

    Reads the Chron's sports section, at least when it's cited in legal briefs​The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Enron honcho Jeffrey Skilling's trial should not have been moved out of Houston, no matter what he thinks. (Skilling did better on other arguments, but overall nothing much changed.)Son ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 21, 2010

    I Wanna Be Your Dog (Or Cat): SCOTUS Edition

    With the Supreme Court's decision Tuesday to nix a law criminalizing the production and sale of dog-fighting and crush videos, Hair Balls is nervously waiting to see if there's going to be a big local boom in the Houston market. After all, Harris County prosecutors are remarkably soft on dog-fi ... More >>

  • Culture

    July 23, 2009
  • Blogs

    May 4, 2009

    Janet Jackson's Houston Nipple Flash Refuses To Die

    The single greatest news event to occur in Houston since the turn of the century -- one that's clearly gotten more ink than Ike -- is Janet Jackson's Super Bowl-icious nipple. (Katrina we're counting as a N'Awlins event.)The Awesome Areola is back in the news yet again this morning, thanks to the U. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 9, 2007

    Gay Presidential Forum? We Totally Got It Covered.

    Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for coverage of tonight’s presidential forum on gay issues, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. OutSmart contributor Josef Molnar will be filing a dispatch from Los Angeles. For those of you unfamiliar with Molnar’s body of work, we asked him to write up a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 25, 2007

    Bong Hits 4 Jesus

    Not only did a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court not find Joseph Frederick’s banner of “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” funny, now they’ve made it tougher for other public school students to exercise their First Amendment rights in a decision announced this morning. Frederick argued that when he unfur ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 19, 2007

    Abort Mission

    The Supreme Court announced Wednesday it will uphold a law banning late-term abortions. It is clear that everyone has an opinion on the matter, especially women, because they have a right as well – to live. The law does not create an exception when the mother’s health is at risk.

  • News

    January 13, 2005

    Draining the Swamp

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

  • News

    July 10, 2003

    Back Door to History

    Thank J.R. Quinn for the gay celebrations

  • Best of Houston

    September 26, 2002

    Best Court Ruling

    U.S. District Judge David Hittner

  • News

    March 8, 2001

    Knowing Right from Wrong

    Did Johnny Penry's abusive childhood prevent him from developing a moral compass that might have stopped him from murdering Pam Carpenter? Or is he just another cold, calculating killer?

  • News

    March 30, 2000

    Trying to Make Amens

    If only there were school prayer. If only it were that simple.

  • More >>