QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals.”
—Simone Biles, to judges on Dancing With The Stars on Monday, according to the Houston Chronicle. Biles, an Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast from Spring, and her dance partner scored 36 out of 40 points for their routine on Monday night’s show. Host Tom Bergeron made the mistake of asking her why she wasn’t smiling at the positive feedback.
Ahead of the Game
Governor Greg Abbott signed the sanctuary city ban into law on Sunday, and instead of waiting to defend itself from the lawsuits expected to be filed by civil liberties groups, Texas jumped the gun and filed its own lawsuit, a preemptive strike attempting to convince a court to protect it for good. According to the Texas Tribune, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit shortly after the ink dried on the bill, and the complaint asks the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to rule that the sanctuary ban doesn’t violate the Fourth or Fourteenth Amendments and is not pre-empted by federal law. “SB 4 is constitutional, lawful and a vital step in securing our borders,” Paxton said in a statement. “SB 4 guarantees cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement to protect Texans. Unfortunately, some municipalities and law enforcement agencies are unwilling to cooperate with the federal government and claim that SB 4 is unconstitutional.” By “some municipalities and law enforcement agencies,” Paxton probably meant to say police chiefs in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Arlington, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, the Texas Police Chiefs Association, and sheriffs in Travis County, Dallas County, Harris County, Bexar County and El Paso County, all of whom have expressed their opposition to SB4. Critics of the sanctuary ban say it amounts to legalizing a “show me your papers” style discrimination against minorities and will actually harm public safety because it will create a chilling effect in immigrant communities, where folks will be too fearful of interacting with law enforcement to report crimes. Paxton’s lawsuit takes aim at Travis County, where Sheriff Sally Hernandez was pretty much the first law enforcement official to challenge Abbott on this issue by implementing sanctuary-friendly policies last year. Paxton’s preemptive strike, however, apparently won’t save it from facing separate lawsuits. “We will see you in court, Governor Abbott,” Thomas Saenz, President of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement, according to the Tribune. “In the meantime, we hope that both the governor and attorney general will seek treatment for an apparent problem with premature litigation.”
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Both Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn went head-to-head with former acting attorney general Sally Yates during a congressional hearing on Monday, according to the Dallas Morning News. In what seemed like a unanimous decision (at least, according to the judges of the Internet), Yates emerged victorious. Though the hearing was billed as an inquest into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Cruz and Cornyn chose instead to spar with Yates over her refusal to defend President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban. Cornyn said that while he voted to confirm Yates, he was disappointed when she pushed back against the travel ban. Yates said she promised during her confirmation hearing that she’d reject a president’s request if she found it unlawful. Yates said she overruled the travel ban because “that’s what I promised you I would do.” Cruz fared even worse when he stepped in the ring. He threw the legalese book at her, and each time Yates was able to dodge his blows and come back with her own legal jargon. Cruz questioned her override of the Office of Legal Counsel and asked if she was aware of any previous attorney general who defied it. “I’m not,” Yates replied, “but I’m also not aware of a situation where the Office of Legal Counsel was advised not to tell the attorney general about it until after it was over.” The exchange prompted some chuckles in the room, at Cruz’s expense.
Moving On Up
Famous for her role in the Clock Boy controversy of 2015, former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne started her new gig as a regional administrator under Housing Secretary Ben Carson on Monday, according to the Dallas Morning News. Van Duyne has long been an outspoken about her fear of “Sharia Law,” and she defended Irving police throughout the Clock Boy controversy, calling a fourteen-year-old boy a “potential threat” for bringing a homemade clock to school. Van Duyne announced in February that she would not run for a third term as mayor, sparking speculation that she was on track for a spot in Donald Trump’s White House (she was among the few major city mayors to publicly support Trump’s campaign). Now she’ll oversee Housing and Urban Development operations in five states, including Texas, where she’ll be based in Fort Worth.
Twelve Angry Ounces
A drunk juror ruined a murder trial in San Antonio. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Joshua Gonzales was on trial for allegedly fatally shooting Matthew Bailey-Vo in February, but the court proceedings came to an unceremonious halt on Monday after a juror told the judge he’d been sloshed while listening to testimony. The judge was already down two eleven jurors heading into day two of the trial last week because one had to be dismissed following a car crash. At the trial on Friday, a male juror showed up sick and told the judge he was “suffering from alcohol poisoning.” The jury didn’t hear testimony that day. Then on Monday, the very same juror came clean to the judge, under oath, about the his “chronic alcohol consumption” and “self-medicating,” admitting to being intoxicated during testimony, according to court records. Down to just ten jurors, the judge declared a mistrial, though Gonzales is expected to get a new trial in September.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
An Austin cop was fired for giving a sexual assault suspect confidential info about his accuser Austin American-Statesman
MISSING: Samson, the beloved tortoise of Carroll Middle School Dallas Morning News
Sanctuary is a city in Texas, but it’s not a sanctuary city, just a “low-key… little redneck place in the country” Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Harlingen’s downtown is under siege by ragweed Valley Morning Star
Four bikers who claim they were wrongfully arrested in the Twin Peaks shooting are suing for $1 billion Waco Tribune-Herald