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The State of Texas: May 19, 2016

Trump taps a Texas judge for his SCOTUS shortlist, the Texas GOP has a comma problem, and the state’s suburbs keep growing at ridiculously fast rates.

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Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, left, asks a question during oral arguments in Texas' latest school finance case at the state Supreme Court, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, in Austin, Texas.
Eric Gay/AP

Quote of the Day

“It’d be cool to fight people and shoot weapons and blow up stuff.”

—Hannah Carpenter, 17, to the Dallas Morning News. Carpenter and fellow North Texas teen Shelby Sparkman became the state’s first female Army infantry recruits on Wednesday. 

Daily Roundup

SCOTUS Shortlist—Donald Trump announced the names of eleven judges on Wednesday that he would consider to replace the late SCOTUS justice Antonin Scalia if elected, and on the list was Texas Supreme Court Justice and superb tweeter Don Willett. Even for Trump, this is a little strange. Nothing against Willett—the judge is a favorite among conservatives and has more than ten years of experience serving on the state’s top civil court circuit—but Willett just doesn’t think very highly of Trump. Scrolling through his more than 21,000 tweets since 2009, it’s pretty obvious that Willett is an avid subtweeter of the presumed Republican presidential nominee. One such tweet/haiku from last year, as noted by the Texas Tribune: “Who would the Donald/Name to #SCOTUS? The mind/reels. *weeps — can’t finish tweet*.” If Trump makes it to the White House and picks Willett, the Texas justice would be the first Texan on the U.S. Supreme Court since Sandra Day O’Connor retired in 2006 (the only other Texan SCOTUS justice? Tom Clark, who served from 1949-1967). Willett hasn’t said whether he would accept Trump’s potential shoulder tap.

Wobbly Platform—When the Texas Republican Party got together to write up its platform during the GOP convention in Dallas last weekend, there apparently wasn’t a grammarian in the house, and it led to one of the more amusing comma mistakes you’ll ever see. As expected, the platform was basically a conservative cake baked from scratch with only the most organic far-right ingredients: a spoonful of small-government, a few sprinkles of anti-abortion, a pinch of xenophobia, a cup of climate change denial and, of course, a whole lot of gay-bashing. But the party made a huge mistake. As the New Civil Rights Movement pointed out, there’s a sentence in the platform that unintentionally (we think?) asserts that most Texans are, in fact, gay. From the platform: “Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nation’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.” Whoops! You’ve got to watch out for those pesky commas, always trying to push their “gay agenda” on all the other punctuation marks.

Suburban Swell—Texas keeps getting bigger, and a lot of the action is happening in the suburbs. According to newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, five of the nation’s eleven fastest-growing population centers of 50,000-plus people in the past year are in Texas, including the top two, according to the U.S. News and World Report. Georgetown, a suburb of Austin, grew 7.8 percent from 2014-2015, while New Braunfels, which is outside San Antonio, added 6.6 percent during the same time frame. From 2010-2015, more than half of the country’s fastest-growers were in the Lone Star State, with Texas ‘burbs claiming four of the top five spots. Frisco saw the biggest increase in the past five years, adding 36,303 people, an astounding 30.7 percent growth. According to the Dallas Morning News, economists attribute the suburban migration (and the influx of people coming to Texas in general) mostly to economic development and an abundance of available jobs.

Clickety Bits

Another African-American woman dies amid questionable circumstances in a Texas jail. (KHOU)

An eleven-year-old boy was apparently randomly stabbed to death while walking home from school in Houston. (Houston Chronicle)

Another day, another revelation exposing Baylor football’s seemingly endless assault problem. (ESPN: Outside the Lines)

Mexico’s president just proposed legalizing gay marriage. (Associated Press)

Anatomy class, also known as “playing jump-rope with a dissected cat’s intestine.” (New York Daily News

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  • John Knapp

    That’s not a comma problem. It’s a verb problem (“truths that has” instead of “truths that have”) and a relative clause problem (two phrases both beginning with “that” that describe different things). The commas are fine; it’s the rest of the sentence that needs work.

    • Jed

      i was just going to write the same thing. when you make fun of someone’s grammar, you need to be correct.

    • Emily

      I was going to as well. Though there is still a comma problem: you need a comma after fundamental.

  • Switchmen Repent

    The grammar editorial on this is flawed — unless Texas Monthly can point to the specific English style by which the GOP errs, there is no error. Texas Monthly likely has a specific styleguide or stylebook (such as the Associated Press stylebook, or Strunk & White’s Manual of Style) by which any of their publications can be compared, but there is no general English style that governs English.

    Saying there is an error according to general English is like saying you can’t touch the ball with your hands according to Sports, but not specifying which sport. Certain sports disallow touching the ball with your hands, but not Sports in general. If you said the GOP made a gaff according to the Chicago Press Style manual, and can prove they are bound by it, then you’d have a case. However, they could have a case against you if they wanted to sue you for libel, because general English itself has no governing style.