The State of Texas: SCOTUS Decides Not To Take Voter ID Case
Plus: Greg Abbott talks tough on the Travis County sheriff’s sanctuary policy, Marco Rubio falls in line for Rex Tillerson, and good news for George and Barbara Bush.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Yo @POTUS, even I know to stay away from the notifications section on twitter. S*** will drive you crazy, lead the country and let them hate.”
—Johnny Manziel delivering some, uh, sage advice to President Donald Trump via Twitter on Monday, according to the Dallas Morning News. Manziel quickly deleted his Twitter account following his short self-appointed term as a presidential adviser, apparently adhering to the only piece of Twitter-related advice anyone should ever follow: Never. Tweet.
The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that it wasn’t going to hear Texas’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that gutted the state’s voter identification law, according to the New York Times. The decision is a victory for voting rights advocates, albeit a temporary one; this is hardly the end of the road for the law’s complicated legal history. Why? Well, first, a quick recap: the voter ID law was first struck down by U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, of Corpus Christi, in 2014. Ramos ruled that the state made the law with the intent to discriminate. Last July, an appeals court upheld Ramos’s findings that the law violated the Voting Rights Act, and, while falling short of striking down the ID law, ordered Ramos to whip up a temporary fix and said she must take another look at evidence that Texas intended to discriminate with the ID law. Texas asked the Supreme Court to review the appeal’s court ruling right away. According to the Texas Tribune, there is still a chance SCOTUS might hear the appeal at some point, just not until Ramos makes a final ruling. “Petitioners may raise either or both issues again after entry of final judgment,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote Monday, according to the Tribune. Adding to the uncertainty of the law’s future was the news over the weekend that the Department of Justice requested and received a delay of nearly a month in hearing the ID law case, indicating that a Republican-led White House may be searching for ways to drop the case against Texas entirely.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Take The Money And Run
Nothing grinds Governor Greg Abbott’s gears quite like local Texas governments going against federal immigration officials and agencies to create sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. He’s long threatened to cut state funding from cities and universities that declare themselves sanctuaries, though he’s never quite followed through on that tough talk. Abbott most recently turned his attention toward his own backyard, Travis County, where Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s new sanctuary policy apparently has him all riled up. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Abbott sent a “blistering letter” to Hernandez, threatening to penalize her for her “reckless actions” if she doesn’t immediately reverse the new policy. He said he’d withhold about $2 million in state grants, but was otherwise vague on the specifics of how, exactly, he’d bring the hammer down. According to the Statesman, Abbott’s threat to pull nearly $2 million in state grants is money that would go toward county programs including “anti-prostitution efforts, a veterans’ court, and family violence education efforts.”
Last Man Standing
Well, it seems like Rex Tillerson will surely be confirmed as President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State. The last senator holding out his support for Tillerson, Marco Rubio of Florida, finally came out on Monday and announced he’d back the Texan and former CEO of ExxonMobil, according to the Texas Tribune. Still, it was a tepid endorsement. “In making my decision on his nomination, I must balance these concerns with his extensive experience and success in international commerce, and my belief that the president is entitled to significant deference when it comes to his choices for the cabinet,” Rubio wrote in a statement on his decision. “…Therefore, despite my reservations, I will support Mr. Tillerson’s nomination in committee and in the full Senate.” Rubio was particularly worried about Tillerson’s ties to Russia, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 11-10 in favor of sending Tillerson’s confirmation to the rest of the Senate, all but assuring he’ll be confirmed. Every Republican on the committee voted for Tillerson and every Democrat voted against him, according to the Washington Post.
Finally, some good news for George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. The couple had been hospitalized for more than a week—Bush with pneumonia and Barbara with bronchitis—but according to the Houston Chronicle, Bush, 92, was transferred out of the intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Hospital and into a regular room, while Barbara, 91, was discharged from the hospital. Bush’s doctor said he’s still coughing a bit, but if he keeps improving he could eventually be discharged on Friday or over the weekend. But he seems like he’s in pretty good shape. “He’s sitting up, watching TV and waiting anxiously for his favorite oyster stew for lunch,” Dr. Amy Mynderse, Bush’s hospitalist, said at a news conference. “He’s on minimal oxygen, joking and laughing with the nurses and doctors.” Mynderse also said that Barbara is “back to her normal self.” It was a pretty scary situation last week, as Bush was having trouble breathing and had to be intubated. Pneumonia is no joke for a guy in his nineties. But Mynderse said Bush is “not your average 92-year-old.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
A post-Women’s March reflection on what it’s like to be a Texas woman Cosmopolitan
Counter to that, an East Texas judge calls Women’s Marchers fat Dallas Morning News
The Texas National Guard remembers a young honorary member who passed away too soon KVUE
Members of a McLennan Community College field trip plead guilty to stealing dino bones Waco Tribune
Oh, you know, just a literal cat circus in Houston Galveston Daily News