Judges | KERA News

Judges

Allison Shelley for the Texas Tribune

Andrew Oldham was confirmed to the federal bench Wednesday by a 50–49 vote, making him the the fourth alumnus of the Texas Attorney General’s Office to join the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals since President Donald Trump took office. That tally made his confirmation the narrowest of any Texas judicial nominee under Trump.

Oldham currently serves as Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s top legal adviser.

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A longtime adviser to Gov. Greg Abbott is awaiting approval from the Senate for a seat on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Andrew Oldham was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, alongside two lawyers nominated for federal district courts in Texas, Alan Albright and Micheal Truncale. A vote from the full Senate is the final hurdle before they're confirmed to the federal bench.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

John Wiley Price is now completely free of the federal corruption charges that dogged him for years.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

The economy in North Texas is growing twice as fast as the national average. A recent report by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows employment in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington region is growing by nearly four percent annually.

At the Fort Worth Chamber’s State of the Union luncheon, Thursday, officials spotlighted Tarrant County’s boom in transportation projects, the medical industry and all things energy. County Judge Glen Whitley, the key-note speaker, told a packed audience of business leaders and community partners that things are going very well in Tarrant.  

timesnewsnetwork / Flickr.com

Same-sex marriage has long faced opposition in Texas, especially among Republicans. But, across the country, same-sex marriage is gaining supporters. That could change attitudes in Texas, which may ultimately affect the way political candidates treat the issue.

UpdateWith a federal judge blocking enforcement of a key restriction on abortion in Texas, here’s reaction from Gov. Rick Perry:

“Today’s decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life and ensure the women of our state aren’t exposed to any more of the abortion-mill horror stories that have made headlines recently. We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans.”

NARAL Pro Choice America President Ilyse Hogue:

"We are pleased but not surprised by this development. It has been clear from day one that the laws advanced by Governor Perry and others are unconstitutional and put women at greater risk. We will continue to fight to ensure all parts of this law, and other laws restricting women's health care options, which are clearly unconstitutional are defeated."


SalFalko

The Texas Senate and House have passed legislation that’s supposed to rein in judges who are abusing or misusing their authority.

It’s a problem KERA looked at last year in a special series, Texas Judges: Out of Order.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins is being investigated by the FBI.  The the scrutiny comes after allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in a mortgage fraud case.

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins showed up for his court-ordered appearance this morning only to have the judge slap him with a contempt of court order for refusing to answer questions.  

City of Dallas

A city of Dallas budget proposal to add two full-time municipal court judges sparked accusations of cronyism at City Hall, and comes after the dismissal of several judges that upset minority council members.

Texas is one of just six states that select all of its judges in partisan elections.  Critics say that creates conflicts of interest and politics becomes more important than qualifications.  In the third part of “Texas Judges: Out of Order,” we look at the pros and cons of the way Texas selects judges and some alternatives.

Scott* / (cc) flickr

Complaints about Texas judges are usually handled in secret and rarely lead to punishment. That’s what state lawmakers heard when they met to review the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, the agency that disciplines judges.

Scott* / (cc) flickr

The State Integrity Investigation on government corruption gives Texas an average grade of C for holding our judges accountable. But some citizens and lawmakers who’ve tested the system say that grade is far too high.

s_falkow / (cc) flickr

A North Texas judge indicted in a campaign contributions investigation has been suspended.