Texas Takes Notice As Supreme Court Closes Out Session
Texas Matters: The United States Supreme Court is wrapping up its session and decisions continue to come down. A ruling has been made in a Texas-Oklahoma water dispute, and a decision is expended soon on a case involving the Voting Rights Act, which could have major implications in Texas. Also on this show: An inside look at Texas Monthly's Best and Worst Legislators 2013 list, and a look at how Mexico's drug war killings are effecting both sides of the border.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against Tarrant Regional Water District and its plan to siphon 150 billion gallons of water a year from several Oklahoma river basins and funnel that water to a thirsty North Texas.
After losing that Supreme Court battle, the Tarrant Regional Water District may try a gentler approach -- talking. From Dallas, KERA’s Shelley Kofler has more on the impact of the high court’s decision.
Supreme Court Reigns Down
Many are watching the U.S. Supreme Court closely this June as there are several major decisions expected that could shake things up across the nation and in Texas.
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin is a case brought by Abigail Fisher in 2008 challenging whether public universities can consider race when admitting students. Abigail Fisher, who is Anglo, applied to the University of Texas at Austin and was denied admission. Fisher argues she was discriminated against because of race.
Another big case is Shelby County Alabama v. Holder, which has the potential to effectively wipe out the Voting Rights Act. That could have major consequences in Texas. Minority voters fear a possible loss of legal protection - however states' rights activists are eager for a change.
The Texas Legislature is currently in a special session to deal with redistricting and Gov. Rick Perry has also added transportation, restrictions on abortion, which failed to pass in the regular session, and legislation relating to establishing a mandatory sentence of life with parole for a capital felony committed by a 17 year old.
But there’s still the matter of mopping up the regular session and an unofficial piece of business is that capper -- the Texas Monthly list of the best and worst lawmakers.
Brian Sweany is the Senior Executive Editor at Texas Monthly.
"What we look at is not party and we don't look at ideology and we don't look at specific issues -- which is that we are not calling things for Texans. What we're doing is looking at lawmakers who work well on the process, who are honest and fair, have a good reputation and seem to be the ones who are willing to tackle big issues and in doing so inevitably building consensus, and making smart compromises as opposed to those lawmakers who may chose to demagogue or grandstand or do any number of things that give a lot of politicians a bad name."
As with any list, you are going to upset people, but Sweany said they go into the process with the unders
"Everybody is going to look at this list and think that we have a partisan edge to it. I think that's inevitable with any list that you do, but the fact of the matter is that we try to call it as fairly as we can. We ended up this year with a pretty diverse list on the best list -- six Republicans and four Democrats -- and on the worst list we had seven Republicans and three Democrats."
In El Porvenir, Mexico across the border from Ft Hancock, Texas, cartel battles for control of the long established smuggling route there have triggered multiple killings on the Mexican side, most recently the murder of two brothers. The violence rarely spills across the border but the psychological impact does. From Marfa Public Radio Lorne Matalon reports.