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U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Case About Texas Confederate Flag License Plate

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Ted Cruz is running for president; Texas license plates appear before the U.S. Supreme Court; SMU is about to get a big gift; and more.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a case today involving Texas license plates and the Confederate flag. The Texas Tribune reports: “The state of Texas and a Confederate heritage group [will] argue over the extent to which First Amendment freedoms protect offensive speech or images. The Sons of Confederate Veterans applied in 2009 for a specialty license plate bearing the group’s logo, which features the flag of the Confederate States of America. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles denied the application after a number of groups including the Texas NAACP called the proposed plates offensive. The group challenged the DMV’s decision in federal court, but a district judge upheld the state's decision to restrict what it determined to be offensive content.” NPR's Nina Totenberg has more details. [The Texas Tribune/NPR]

  • Southern Methodist University has received its largest gift in its history. The Dallas Morning News reports it’s a $45 million grant from the Meadows Foundation, “which is designating $25 million for the Meadows Museum and $20 million for Meadows School of the Arts. …The foundation’s largesse creates a defining moment in North Texas philanthropy for the arts, when paired with the University of Texas at Dallas receiving a $17 million gift from Edith O’Donnell in May to build a new institute of art history. SMU President R. Gerald Turner drew a parallel between the gift from the Meadows Foundation and the emergence of the Dallas Arts District, accelerated by the 2009 opening of the $354 million AT&T Performing Arts Center, paid for almost entirely with private funding.” [The Dallas Morning News]

  • U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is going to run for president. The Texas Tribune reports: “It's the boldest step yet in the junior Texas senator's meteoric rise. Only four years ago, he was a virtual unknown in national politics. On Monday, Cruz aides say he will officially make his intentions clear at Liberty University in central Virginia, a nerve center of evangelical thought and activity that telegraphs an emphasis on Christian conservative voters. … Cruz’s announcement, which was first reported by The Houston Chronicle, comes just as one fundraising quarter ends and another is about to begin. Early April is a frequent time for candidates to announce their bids. The timing maximizes the amount of time Cruz can spend raising money out of the gate in the second quarter of the year.” [The Texas Tribune]

  • Protesters marched in Grapevine Sunday to get police to release video from a dashboard camera that captured a controversial shooting. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: “Ruben García Villalpando’s widow wept Sunday at the end of a peaceful justice march for her husband, who was unarmed when he was fatally shot by a Grapevine police officer in late February. Protestors chanted ‘No justice, no peace’ and ‘Release the video.’ … García’s family and activists are calling for police to release to the public video from a dashboard camera that captured the shooting by a policeman on the Texas 121 service road the night of Feb. 20. Family members who have seen the video say García, a Mexican national, asked the officer if he was going to kill him moments before he was shot twice in the chest.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

  • A woman was arrested after a Dallas yoga studio was set on fire Saturday night. WFAA-TV reports the woman was charged with arson. The woman “allegedly broke into the American Power Yoga studio in the 5400 block of East Mockingbird Lane just after 10:30 p.m. and set it on fire,” WFAA reported. “Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames. A security officer who saw the woman identified as Duarte enter the second-story studio called 911 to report the incident. Police pepper-sprayed Duarte during an ensuing struggle and arrested her for second-degree arson and resisting arrest. … She is being held in the Dallas County Jail on a total of $16,000 bond.” [WFAA-TV]
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.