litigation_main
Litigation
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Welcome to the Senate Hispanic Caucus’ litigation research center. Here you will find legal cases, currently underway in Texas, that are of vital importance to the Hispanic community. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about these cases.
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Education
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Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition, et. al v. Williams, et. alNo. D-1-GV-11-001972 (345th Judicial District Court, Travis Co., Tex.)
Issue: Whether the current Texas school finance system is legal and valid under the Texas Constitution? Claims have been brought by school districts, taxpayers, and parents that the current school finance system is inequitable, inadequate, inefficient, does not provide meaningful discretion to school districts.The three-month trial began on October 22, 2012. In response to new school finance legislation passed by the Texas Legislature and a request by wealthy school districts to re-open the evidence, the trial court set a new six-week trial that began on January 21, 2014 and ended on February 7. A decision by Judge Dietz is expected to come out at the end of August 2014
For more information visit:
www.equitycenter.org
www.idra.org/Education_Policy.htm
www.maldef.org/news/releases/maldef_returns_to_court_to_defend_texas_school_children
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GI Forum and LULAC v. Texas
No. 6:14CV138 (U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Tex.) (formerly No. 6:71-CV-5281-WWJ)
A desegregation case against the State of Texas and nine school districts dating back to 1970 in which Texas remains under a desegregation consent decree. LULAC and the American GI Forum of Texas intervened in the early 1970s to hold the State responsible for providing equal educational opportunities to Latinos and English Language Learners (ELLs). MALDEF and the Multicultural Education, Training and Advocacy, Inc. (META), filed federal court papers on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), seeking to require that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and two individual school districts, the Southwest and North East Independent School Districts in San Antonio, effectively monitor, implement, enforce and supervise programs for ELLs.
For more information visit:
www.maldef.org/news/releases/maldef_and_meta_file_civil_rights_suit_against_tx_education/
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IRCOT v. TexasNo. 2009-79110 (281st Judicial District Court, Harris County, Texas)
A legal challenge to certain provision of in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrant students in Texas brought by Texas taxpayers that oppose Texas DREAM students access to in-state tuition and Texas Grants. Attempts by the State and the Lone Star College system to dismiss the case have been denied. However, on January 10, 2014, the Lone Star System filed its petition for review in the Texas Supreme Court. On June 6, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court granted Lone Star College System’s petition for review.
For more information on HB 1403 also known as the Texas Dream Act: See
http://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/young-lives-on-hold-college-board.pdf/
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Fisher v. University of Texas
In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the University of Texas at Austin’s holistic admissions plan, affirming the university’s ability to consider the race of an applicant as one of many factors in its admissions decisions. The U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case to the Fifth Circuit in June 2013, after it held that the Fifth Circuit had not applied the correct standard in judging the University of Texas admissions program. On remand, the Fifth Circuit received briefing from the parties, as well as from MALDEF, which filed an amicus brief on behalf of twenty state and national Latino organizations urging the court to affirm the constitutionality of UT-Austin’s plan as a complement to the Top Ten Percent Plan.
For more information see:
www.naacpldf.org/case/fisher-v-texas

www.maldef.org/news/releases/fifth_circuit_upholds_uot_holistic_admissions_program/
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Falkenberg-Abigail-Fisher-needs-to-get-on-with-5675796.php
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Health Care
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Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services, et al., v. Abbott, et al.No. 1:13-cv-00862 (W.D. Tex.)

The ACLU of Texas and the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project represent three abortion providers in a federal lawsuit challenging the admitting privileges and medication abortion provisions of HB2 on the grounds that they are medically unnecessary regulations meant to close clinics and prevent women from accessing abortion care. Also on the suit are lawyers for Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights. After a week-long trial in Austin in October 2013, the district court enjoined both provisions, ruling that the admitting privileges requirement would close clinics and prevent women from exercising their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy and that the medication abortion restriction must provide a broader exception for the life and health of the woman. But on the state’s motion, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law could go into effect while the state appealed the ruling. As a result, almost half the clinics in the state have closed, depriving women of abortion care in many communities. The Fifth Circuit subsequently ruled on the merits in the state’s favor, and the doctors and clinics have sought en banc review, arguing that the Fifth Circuit’s ruling contravenes controlling U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

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Civic Engagement
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Evenwell v. PerryA-14-CA-335-LY-CH-MHS (U.S. Dist. Ct., Tex.)
A legal challenge to Texas’ use of total population for apportioning state senatorial districts. The plaintiffs claim that the use of total population to guarantee one-person, one-vote violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because of the uneven distribution of citizen voting age population in Texas. MALDEF represents the Senate Hispanic Caucus, five registered voters, and a U.S. citizen child. On June 25, 2014, the three judge panel heard oral argument on the State’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, and a decision is pending. On May 22, 2014, the panel suspended briefing related to the Evenwel plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, pending a ruling on the motion to dismiss.
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Perez v. Perry (Texas Redistricting)5:11-CV-360 (U.S. Dist. Ct., W.D. Tex.)

Nos. 11-713 and 11-715 (U.S. Supreme Court)

Challenges to the 2011 and 2013 redistricting plans for Congress and State House enacted by the Texas Legislature. Challenges to the Texas Senate plan have been resolved and settled. Plaintiffs argue that the state’s plans diluted Black and Latino voting strength and were intentionally discriminatory. Following a two-week trial, and in light of the failure of Texas to secure Section 5 preclearance for its redistricting plans, the District Court enjoined the enacted redistricting plans.On March 19, 2012, the District Court issued interim Congressional and State House plans for the 2012 election cycle that significantly improved upon the 2011 enacted map, but did not address all the discriminatory violations according to many of the plaintiff parties in the litigation.

Following the denial of Section 5 preclearance of Texas’s redistricting plans by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Texas v. United States, this case returned to the federal panel in San Antonio to resolve the question of redistricting plans for the 2014 election cycle.

In June 2013, the Texas Legislature enacted new redistricting plans. The Legislature adopted the court-drawn interim Congressional plan in its entirety, but made changes to the court-drawn Texas House plan.

The San Antonio Federal Court will examine the liability for the 2011 and 2013 redistricting plans, as well as the question whether Texas should be bailed back in under the requirements of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

The court conducted trial on challenges to the 2011 Texas House redistricting plan from July 14-19, 2014 and on the 2011 Congressional Redistricting Plan from August 11-16, 2014.

For more information see:
http://redistricting.lls.edu/cases-TX.php#TXother
http://txredistricting.org/
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Inmigrants’ Rights
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Villas at Parkside Partners v. City of Farmers Branch3-08-CV-1551 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Tex.)
A constitutional challenge to an anti-immigrant municipal ordinance in which the court concluded that the city’s ordinance was preempted by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, both as an impermissible regulation of immigration and under the doctrine of implied preemption. On March 3, 2014, the United States Supreme Court denied Farmers Branch’s petition for certiorari.
For more information see:
www.maldef.org/news/releases/supreme_court_ruling_in_farmers_branch/
https://www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/villas-parkside-partners-v-city-farmers-branch
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Administrative Complaint Pursuant to the Fair Housing Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against League City
A complaint filed July 21, 2014 with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development challenges a resolution passed by League City, Texas, that denies housing to child refugees in their city. The complaint is the first action of its kind since jurisdictions in Texas began passing anti-refugee resolutions in response to the 57,000 children who have arrived at the U.S. border this year to escape violence in countries including El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.On July 8, the city council of League City passed Resolution No. 2014-23, effectively banning unauthorized immigrants, particularly child refugees, from its jurisdiction. Among other mandates, city officials voted 6-2 to use “any manner necessary” within the government’s power to keep refugee children out of League City. League City called on other jurisdictions to join them in passing similar resolutions.
For more information see:
www.texasappleseed.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=149&Itemid=330
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Jane Doe v. El Paso Hospital District, et al. No. 3:13-cv-00406 (W.D. Tex.)

In December 2013, The ACLU of Texas filed suit on behalf of border resident to challenge aggressive immigration enforcement tactics at and near the border. The complainant, a U.S. citizen, was traveling back from Mexico and found herself subjected to a series of increasingly invasive bodily searches that far exceed the bounds of the Fourth Amendment. Customs and Border Protection officers first detained her at the border, where she was subjected to an unusually invasive pat down, followed by a strip search. Finding nothing, agents then transported the 54-year-old woman to the University Medical Center in El Paso, where they enlisted doctors to continue the search of her person. Over the course of several hours, she endured an observed bowel movement, vaginal and rectal exams, a speculum exam, an x-ray, and a CT scan. Only then did agents release her without charges. The hospital later billed the woman more than $5,000 for the procedures she underwent. The medical defendants recently settled with plaintiff, paying $1.1 million in damages and making changes to the hospital policies governing law enforcement searches. The plaintiff’s case against Customs and Border Protection continues. Attorneys with ACLU of New Mexico are co-counsel on the case.