QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Yea what’s with the Satanist hex.”
—Twitter user Sergio Gonzales Jr. in response to Joel Osteen’s tweet, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Gonzales, like many of Osteen’s online followers, was confused and concerned after the world-famous preacher tweeted out a photo with his son, who had just graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. Both Osteens were flashing the “Hook’em Horns” hand signal.
Redraw Or Else
The U.S. Supreme Court came down hard on North Carolina on Monday, and Texas could be destined for a similar fate. SCOTUS struck down two congressional district maps in North Carolina, ruling that the districts were gerrymandered to discriminate based on race. The decision may serve as a preview should a similar Texas case reach the Supreme Court. One of the federal judges on the panel overseeing Texas’s case has already responded to the SCOTUS ruling by pressing Texas to hurry up and fix its maps. According to the Dallas Morning News, San Antonio Judge Xavier Rodriguez issued an order hours after the SCOTUS decision, asking both parties to submit briefs about how the SCOTUS ruling will affect their cases. Rodriguez also told Texas’s lawyers to meet with Governor Greg Abbott to talk about whether they should “voluntarily undertake redistricting in a special session” of the Legislature. They’ll have to move fast, because the Texas trial is set to begin in July. The SCOTUS ruling basically vaporizes Texas’s main argument that so long as the maps were drawn based on political motivations rather than to intentionally discriminate based on race, it’s all good. So Texas may need to look for a new defense if it hopes to avoid the same fate. Texas’s conservative leaders haven’t yet responded to the ruling, but critics of the state’s district maps believe the Supreme Court is sending a clear message to the Lone Star State. “The way I read it is that the court is warning the state of Texas to fix these intentionally discriminatory maps or it will in a way the state might not like,” State Representative Rafael Anchia, a Democrat from Dallas who’s also a plaintiff in the Texas case, told the Morning News.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court also handed down a ruling that may spell the end of the glory days for a federal court in Marshall, which has become known for hosting an insane amount of patent infringement cases. The justices ruled unanimously to make it more difficult for parties to file patent infringement lawsuits in courts that are friendly to their cause, according to the Washington Post. It overturns a ruling by a federal appeals court that allowed plaintiffs more room to pick and choose where their cases were heard, which resulted in a ridiculous number of cases being filed in the federal court in tiny Marshall (we wrote about that a few years ago). One single judge in Marshall oversaw about a quarter of every patent case in the country from 2014 to 2016. Now companies will have more of a home court advantage over so-called “patent trolls,” and the court in Marshall will likely be a lot quieter from now on.
End Of An Era
The San Antonio Spurs were eliminated from the NBA playoffs on Monday, swept out of the Western Conference Finals in four games by the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs were shorthanded against the best team in the league, with star Kawhi Leonard missing the final three games with an ankle injury, but it’s still a disappointing end to their season. Monday may have also been the last time we see Spurs legend Manu Ginobili take the court. Perhaps knowing the Spurs were unlikely to play another game, coach Gregg Popovich gave the 39-year-old sixth-man his first start in the playoffs since 2013 “out of respect,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. Ginobili made the most of the opportunity, scoring fifteen points with seven assists before heading to the bench with 2:25 left, as the home crowd showered him with cheers and chanted, “Manu! Manu!” After the game, however, Ginobili didn’t exactly sound ready to ride off into the sunset. “I do feel like I can still play,” Ginobili said, according to the Express-News. “But that’s not what’s going to make me retire or not. It’s about how I feel, if I want to go through all of that again.”
Rest In Peace
Texas learned Monday of the deaths of four beloved musicians: Austin singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave died on Sunday after a long battle with cancer; George Reiff, another Austinite known for playing the bass and producing, also passed away Sunday from cancer; Barbara Smith Conrad, a world-famous opera singer from tiny Center Point, Texas, died Monday at the age of 79; and in Houston, blues-rock guitarist Kenny Cordray and his 33-year-old son were found shot dead in their home on Sunday in a possible murder-suicide. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the 61-year-old LaFave was one of Austin’s best-known musicians, seeing his biggest success was his 2001 album Texoma. He continued performing even after he was diagnosed with cancer. Reiff, 56, toured with dozens of Austin artists and produced albums for many more, and he once toured with Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, according to the Statesman. Conrad was one of the first black undergrads at the University of Texas-Austin, where she became a controversial figure in the national civil rights movement after being cast as the lead in a school musical opposite a white male actor, according to the Statesman. She went on to perform around the world for a bunch of different operas, including New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. Cordray, 62, was a beloved member of Houston’s blues-rock community, according to the Houston Press. Police are still investigating the circumstances of his death.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Texas barbecue not for you? It’s fine, try the best Japanese restaurants in the state instead We Love Japanese Food
How Texas’s tiny McMullen County became the richest county in America CNBC
Firefighters rescued 22 cats from a burning home in Arlington on Monday Dallas Morning News
Denied by UT, a Texas valedictorian got it to change its admission rules (read this one all the way to the end, Aggie fans) Texas Tribune
A Galveston funeral had to be put on pause after diggers found a body already in the family plot Galveston Daily News